VOA Special English - UNSV英语学习频道VOA Special Englishhttp://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/http://www.unsv.com/images/unsv.gifVOA慢速英语即VOA Special English,又叫VOA特别英语,是快速提高听力、纠正发音、改善阅读理解,扩充英语知识的绝佳节目,还被新东方、疯狂英语等培训机构选作核心教材。http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/zh-CNhttp://www.unsv.com60版权所有©2003-2011 UNSV.COM英语学习频道,保留所有权利。Thu, 6 Aug 2020 23:39:59 UTC<![CDATA[Could Mumbai's Poor Areas Become Resistant to COVID-19?]]>Alice Bryant如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/07/0441/

A recent study of the poorest areas in India's city of Mumbai found that more than half of the people have developed COVID-19 antibodies. It is a sign that some of India's most crowded settlements could be moving toward 'herd immunity.'

Herd immunity happens when enough people in a community become resistant to a disease that its spread becomes unlikely.

People in the slums may be developing immunity but Indian officials are not considering it a possibility for battling the spread of the virus. Officials say it could never be a choice but only a result.

India is a world hotspot for COVID-19. More than 1.6 million people have been infected with the new coronavirus.

Health workers in personal protective equipment rest during a check up campaign for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a slum area in Mumbai, India, August 3, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
Health workers in personal protective equipment rest during a check up campaign for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a slum area in Mumbai, India, August 3, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

The study in Mumbai found that 57 percent of people who had been tested in three slum areas had been exposed to the virus and had antibodies against it. That is compared to 16 percent exposure for people living in wealthier parts of the city.

This result means that the virus has spread more quickly through crowded slums. In these poor areas, up to 10 people live in small rooms, making physical distancing impossible.

Most of the people had no symptoms or showed very mild symptoms. So they were not tested earlier and did not appear in official counts of coronavirus cases.

Ullas Kolthur told VOA that it is safe to believe slums could reach herd immunity "sooner than later." He is a professor at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and one of the scientists who carried out the study on nearly 7,000 people.

Decreasing infections

Although Mumbai is one of India's worst-hit cities, COVID-19 numbers have begun to go down.

Infections in the city's slums which are home to about 5 million people have also shown a decrease in recent weeks, officials say.

The antibodies study was done by Mumbai's civic officials, the government policy research group Niti Aayog and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

Kolthur said the results show that population density does affect the spread of COVID-19. As long as there is more contact between a population, the spread is high, he said, whether it is because of shared bathrooms or other shared areas.

In Mumbai, officials said they were surprised by the high numbers of people with no symptoms. Researchers also point to the infection death rate of less than 0.05 percent based on the official number of deaths in the slums.

People in Mumbai's slums seem to have a much lower COVID-19 death rate, compared to other people, Kolthur said. "That is also very surprising, one would have expected it to be the other way around." He said it might be because of the somewhat younger population that likely has better disease resistance, which "needs to be further investigated.'

Antibody development

A government study carried out earlier in July in parts of the capital, New Delhi, found that one in four people there had developed antibodies.

As the two studies turn their attention to possible herd immunity, the health ministry said that such immunity can only be a result in a country like India with a huge population. It said herd immunity comes at a very high cost because it means many people would have to be infected.

Rajesh Bhushan is an officer on special duty in the health ministry. He said that the country must follow COVID-19 safety measures, like wearing face coverings, avoiding gatherings and washing hands carefully until a vaccine is approved.

Mumbai, like several other parts of the country, continues to enforce strong restrictions. Some critics say the results of the antibodies studies question the reasoning of social restrictions and should cause officials to restart economic activity.

The Times of India newspaper said in an opinion statement that the two studies' results make "a strong case" for removing restrictions more quickly.

I'm Alice Bryant.

Anjana Pasricha reported this story for VOA News. Alice Bryant adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

slum –n. a neighborhood were buildings are in bad condition and people are very poor

hot spot –n. a place where there is danger of infection or fighting

expose –v. to be affected by, to come in contact with something like a virus

symptom –n. a change that is evidence that a disease is present

density –n. the number of, for example, people in a limited area

fatality –n. a death that results from an accident, disease or disaster

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/07/0441/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/07/0441/VOA Special EnglishThu, 6 Aug 2020 23:16:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Study: Americans Think News Media Needed for Democracy, But Untrustworthy]]>Mario Ritter Jr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/2020/08/07/1294/

Many Americans describe the news media as "very biased," but they still believe the work of reporters is important to democracy.

That is the finding of a report from the Knight Foundation, a not-for-profit group, and the research company Gallup.

Knight and Gallup questioned more than 20,000 American adults between November 8, 2019 and February 16, 2020. That was before the United States began taking steps to fight the novel coronavirus. It was also before protests over the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The study's findings – called "sobering" in the report – suggest that Americans increasingly distrust the news media.

John Sands is director of learning and impact at the Knight Foundation. He said that when half of Americans have concerns about the news "it's going to be impossible for our democracy to function."

The study confirmed sharp differences of opinion between supporters of the two major parties in the United States.

For example, it found that 71 percent of Republican Party members had a "very" or "somewhat" unfavorable opinion of the news media. Fifty-two percent of independent voters and 22 percent of Democratic Party members also had unfavorable opinions.

However, 54 percent of Democrats had a favorable opinion of the press. Only 13 percent of Republicans felt the same way.

Sands said this finding is not new and added the differences between the two sides have become deeper over the years.

"Moving the dial on these attitudes becomes more and more difficult for media organizations," he said.

The study did not try to identify reasons for the differences in opinion about the news media. U.S. President Donald Trump often calls stories he does not like "fake news."

Studies show that more than 90 percent of media reports on Trump and his administration are "negative" or appear hostile toward the president.

FILE - Television news equipment near a hearing room Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
FILE - Television news equipment near a hearing room Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Who is to blame?

Among those questioned in the study, 48 percent said the news media has a great deal of responsibility for the country's political divisions. Seventy-three percent believe that too much bias in news reporting is a major problem. That represents an increase of eight percent from two years ago.

In addition, Americans did not believe that reporters make honest mistakes. Instead, 54 percent said they believed reporters misrepresented facts, while 28 percent said reporters made up some of their information.

Knight and Gallup found that 41 percent of Americans have a great deal of trust in the ability of the media to report the news fairly. However, that is down from 55 percent in a similar study from 1999.

A big majority of Americans, 84 percent, still believe that, in general, the news media is either "very important" or "critical" to democracy.

I'm Mario Ritter Jr.

Here are other findings of the report:

  • 84 percent of Americans said that, in general, the news media is "critical" (49 percent) or "very important" (35 percent) to democracy.
  • A majority of Americans reported seeing "a great deal" (49 percent) or "a fair amount" (37 percent) of political bias in news coverage. The percentage seeing a great deal of bias is up from 45 percent in 2017.
  • Americans consider mistakes in news stories to be put there on purpose — either because the reporter is misrepresenting the facts (54 percent) or making them up entirely (28 percent).

David Bauder reported this story for the Associated Press. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

biased – adj. showing one side as better than another side in an unfair way

sobering – adj. causing seriousness or thoughtfulness

function – v. to operate correctly

unfavorable –adj. showing disapproval

Move the dial –idiom to cause something to change in a way that can be seen or heard

attitudes –n. (pl.) the way someone thinks about a subject in general

fakeadj. a copy or reproduction; opposite of true or real

critical –adj. extremely important

Also follow us on Facebook.

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/07/1294/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/07/1294/VOA Special EnglishThu, 6 Aug 2020 23:15:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Record Heat, Politics Inflame Iraq's Electricity Shortages]]>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/2020/08/07/2562/

In Iraq's oil-rich south, the very hot summer months are forcing people to make a difficult choice. They can stay home and suffer the extreme heat, or go outside and increase their risk of coronavirus infection.

That situation describes the daily life of Zain al-Abidin since COVID-19 restrictions brought an end to his job. Now, home every day, he listens to his baby daughter cry because she is so hot. Public electricity service fails for hours at a time. And, Abidin does not have enough money to buy private electric power that could cool his home.

Temperatures have hit record highs this summer. It was 52 degrees Celsius in Baghdad last week. Iraq's power supply has again failed to meet demand, leading to a renewal of anti-government demonstrations.

Iraqi people are under a countrywide lockdown to try to stop the spread of COVID-19. Severe budget measures are also in effect. The country is experiencing an economic crisis blamed on the new coronavirus and falling oil prices.

Politics interfere with Iraqi efforts to import additional energy. On one side, Iran is demanding payment for oil it already provided Iraq. On the other side, the U.S. is pushing Iraq to seek energy deals from other Gulf nations, say three senior Iraqi government officials. The officials spoke on condition that they not be identified.

In Baghdad, the sound of generators fill the air in the seconds following daily electricity outages. Public water stations in the city's streets provide people a way to cool themselves temporarily.

"We bring our children…and spray them with a hose to cool them down," said townsperson Ahmed Mohamed.

Protests have delayed reforms to the nation's electricity system. Private generator companies also seek to block the reforms that could harm their business interests. And Iraq appears at a loss on how to deal with a public unwilling to pay the government for electricity.

In the summer of 2018, poor electricity service led to large protests in Basra. In 2019, even larger anti-government demonstrations halted activity in Baghdad and other parts of the country's south. The protestors denounced the widespread corruption that has restricted the supply of services, including electricity.

In Baghdad last week, Iraqi security forces killed two demonstrators protesting the electric power cuts.

Aging power lines will cause a 1,000 megawatt drop in power this summer, says Iraqi Electricity Ministry officials. Supply already falls 10,000 megawatts short of demand, said a ministry official.

Emergency measures are already in effect to re-direct power from oil field operations to homes, officials in oil and electricity ministries said.

There is also the development of a gas hub in southern Iraq to feed the country's power demands. But an agreement between Saudi company ACWA Power and American Honeywell to build the hub has not been finalized.

Meanwhile, Iraqis continue taking to the streets in protest.

"The protests are the only way to show this injustice," said activist Mohammed Ibrahim.

I'm Susan Shand.

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

Words in This Story

generator - n. a machine that creates electricity

spray - v. to spread water across a large area

hose - n. the plastic tube used to bring water to an area

hub - n. a headquarters

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/07/2562/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/07/2562/VOA Special EnglishThu, 6 Aug 2020 23:15:00 UTC
<![CDATA[EVERYDAY GRAMMAR - TED Talks Teach You About Phrasal Verbs]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/07/8437/

TED Talk videos are popular in the United States and other countries. These videos explore issues in science, technology, education and other subjects. They can also be a useful tool for learning English.

Today on Everyday Grammar, we will tell how TED Talks can teach you about some common phrasal verbs, including three with the word hang. They are hang up, hang on and hang out.

We will also explain how you can predict the general meaning of a phrasal verb, even if you do not know its exact definition.

But first, let's look a little more closely at phrasal verbs and how they are used.

What are phrasal verbs?

Phrasal verbs are groups of words that have a verb and one or more short words. When combined, the words have an idiomatic meaning. In other words, phrasal verbs have a meaning that is different from what you might expect.

Consider the phrasal verb take out. It has the verb take and the word out. Together, they mean to remove someone or something from something else. For example, you can take out some money from your pocket.

A phrasal verb can have several meanings. For example, take out can also mean that you get financial help, as in the statement "I want to start a business, but I don't have enough money. So, I'm taking out a loan."

There are thousands of phrasal verbs. The good news is that you do not need to learn all of them.

Your time is better spent learning the most common phrasal verbs.

Mélodie Garnier and Norbert Schmitt are language experts. They made a list of the most common phrasal verbs and their most common meanings.

Of the 150 most common phrasal verbs, three involve the verb hang. Hang means to connect or place something so that it is held up without support from below. But as you know now, phrasal verbs have different meanings than what the verb by itself suggests.

The three most common phrasal verbs with hang are hang up, hang on and hang out.

Even if you do not know what each of these phrasal verbs means, you will learn how to predict what they could mean.

Let us explore each phrasal verb by listening to TED Talks. You will hear part of a TED Talk and have time to think about what the phrasal verb means. Then you will hear the answer.

#1 Hang up

In our first example, futurist and businessman Juan Enriquez talks about gene editing tools such as CRISPR. While talking about the past, when a long-distance telephone call cost a lot of money, Enriquez uses our first phrasal verb: hang up.

Because, of course, you used to get interrupted by operators who'd tell you, "Long distance calling. Do you want to hang up?" And now we think nothing of calling all over the world.

Can you tell what Enriquez meant when he said hang up?

Enriquez gives you an example of the most common meaning of hang up: to end or finish a phone call. You can tell that long distance calls must have cost a lot years ago because he said, "And now we think nothing of calling all over the world."

#2 Hang on

In our second TED Talk, researcher Max Tegmark talks about the threats and opportunities of artificial intelligence, or AI. Listen to how he uses our second phrasal verb, hang on.

We could end up in a fantastic future where everybody's better off: the poor are richer, the rich are richer, everybody is healthy and free to live out their dreams. Now, hang on. Do you folks want the future that's politically right or left?

Could you tell what Tegmark meant when he used the phrasal verb hang on?

In this case, hang on means wait for a short time. Tegmark is asking the crowd to think about what he just said. He makes several statements, then says "hang on," then asks a question. You can tell from the sound of his voice that he wants everyone to wait and think.

#3 Hang out

In our third and final TED Talk, we hear from Luis H. Zayas, head of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. Here he explores how difficult experiences can affect a child's brain. Listen to how he uses hang out.

Afterwards, after school, they [children] go home and they ride bikes, hang out with friends, do homework and explore the world – all the essentials for child development.

Can you tell what Zayas meant when he said hang out?

In this case, hang out means having fun. Terms like "ride bikes" and "with friends" and "explore the world" suggest that hanging out means having fun.

Closing thoughts

The point of this report was to teach you two things. We talked about the meaning of three common phrasal verbs. But we also talked about how to start thinking about new phrasal verbs.

You can use these ideas when you listen to radio broadcasts, watch films or talk to English speakers. Although phrasal verbs can be difficult, the learning process will be much easier if you spend your time wisely.

I'm John Russell.

And I'm Ashley Thompson.

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

Words in This Story

pocket – n. an area in clothing used for carrying small objects

interrupt — v. to ask questions or say things while another person is speaking; to do or say something that causes someone to stop speaking

opportunity – n. a chance to do something

artificial intelligence – n. a computer systems able to perform work that normally requires human intelligence

fantastic – adj. extremely good

bike – n. short for bicycle a vehicle powered by two wheels

essential – n. something that is important or necessary

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/07/8437/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/07/8437/VOA Special EnglishThu, 6 Aug 2020 23:14:00 UTC
<![CDATA[New York Seeks to Close Gun-Rights Group NRA]]>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/2020/08/07/8366/

New York State's attorney general started legal action seeking to close the National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful gun-rights group.

Letitia James, the attorney general, brought the action Thursday in a New York state court after an 18-month investigation. She accused the NRA of illegally directing "millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization for personal use by senior leadership." She said the NRA and its longtime leader Wayne LaPierre violated the organization's own policies in addition to state and federal law.

She said, "which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law."

At the same time, the attorney general for Washington, DC, Karl Racine, announced that his office started a separate legal action against the NRA Foundation. He accused the foundation of redirecting its own money to help pay for the spending of NRA leaders.

NRA President Carolyn Meadows said the group was taking its own legal action against the New York attorney general's office. She said in a statement that the legal action was an "attempt to score political points and attack the leading voice in opposition to the leftist agenda."

U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that "New York is trying to destroy the NRA." He added, "if Biden becomes President your GREAT SECOND AMENDMENT doesn't have a chance. Your guns will be taken away, immediately and without notice. No police, no guns!"

Why did New York take legal action?

The NRA calls itself "a major political force" and a "defender of Second Amendment rights," the rights to own guns. In 1990, the organization established the NRA Foundation to raise money for gun safety and educational programs. It is a non-profit organization meaning that donations to it can be used to reduce people's federal taxes.

Talking with reporters, James, a Democrat, denied the action was driven by the NRA's support for Republican President Donald Trump and other gun-rights candidates.

James had previously taken legal action against Trump's own foundation. Last year, the Trump Foundation agreed to close and paid $2 million to settle charges that Trump used money from the foundation to help his business and political interests.

The NRA, James said, came to her attention when the organization lost more than $64 million in just three years.

FILE - Nation Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre speaks at the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, April 26, 2019.
FILE - Nation Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre speaks at the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, April 26, 2019.

Wayne LaPierre, who has been in charge of the NRA's day-to-day operations since 1991, is accused of spending millions of dollars on himself and his family. The legal action noted that the money was used to pay for his wife's hair and makeup, car services and private airplanes for traveling, including $500,000 for trips to the Bahamas. LaPierre could also receive $17 million if he were to leave the NRA.

The state said some of the NRA's spending was kept secret under an agreement with the organization's former advertising agency, Ackerman McQueen. The advertising company would pay for LaPierre's and other NRA executives' expenses and then passed the costs on to the NRA. The attorney general's office also charges the NRA with giving "no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty."

Karl Racine, the Washington, D.C., attorney general said his office's investigation showed that the NRA Foundation repeatedly sent money to help the NRA. He said the foundation is required "to use their funds to benefit the public, not to support political campaigns, lobbying, or private interests."

"We aim to recover donated funds that the NRA Foundation wasted," Racine said.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Hai Do wrote this report for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

charitable – adj. done or designed to help people

agenda –n. the plans or goals of an organization, group or individual

funds –n.(pl.) an amount of money used for a purpose

benefit –v. to help, to be used for

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/07/8366/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/07/8366/VOA Special EnglishThu, 6 Aug 2020 23:14:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Hiroshima Survivors Worry the World Will Forget]]>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/2020/08/06/9491/

The atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima 75 years ago.

Since then, the survivors have lived with shame, anger and fear. Many in Japan believe radiation sickness is infectious or hereditary.

Some hid the fact that they were survivors. Some watched as family members died, one by one, because of radiation from the bombing, and wondered: Am I next?

Their average age now is around 83, and they are worried their stories will be forgotten. Now, they want to share with young people the horror they experienced on August 6, 1945.

The Associated Press spoke to some of the survivors. Here are their stories.

Koko Kondo, 75

As a young girl, Koko Kondo had one thought: Revenge.

She wanted to find the person who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the person who caused the suffering, and hit him.

She got her chance in 1955.

Ten-year-old Kondo appeared on an American TV show called "This is Your Life" with her father, Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto. He became well-known as one of six survivors whose story was told in John Hersey's book "Hiroshima."

Kondo looked with hate at another guest: Captain Robert Lewis who was the co-pilot of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bomb. Kondo survived the bombing as a baby. She thought about walking to Lewis and hitting him.

Then the TV host asked Lewis how he felt about having dropped the bomb.

"Looking down from thousands of feet over Hiroshima, all I could think of was, 'God, what have we done?'" he said.

Kondo saw tears in Lewis' eyes, and her hatred was gone.

"He was not a monster; he was just another human being...I knew that I should hate the war, not him," Kondo told The Associated Press. She said she was pleased she met Lewis because it helped the hate go away.

Konda suffered years of humiliation and discrimination as she grew up. One day as a very young woman, she was told to remove her clothes at a medical conference in front of many other people. A man refused to marry her because she had survived the atomic bomb.

On the day before Thursday's memorial at Hiroshima Peace Park, Kondo held a moment of silence and prayed for the victims, and for Lewis.

Like her father, Kondo is now working to tell her stories to young people.

"It's time we human beings get together and abolish nuclear weapons," she said. "We have hope."

Lee Jong-keun, an atomic bomb survivor, speaks after a memorial service for Korean atomic bomb victims in front of Monument to Korean Victims and Survivors at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. (AP Photo)
Lee Jong-keun, an atomic bomb survivor, speaks after a memorial service for Korean atomic bomb victims in front of Monument to Korean Victims and Survivors at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. (AP Photo)

Lee Jong-Keun, 92

Lee Jong-Keun kept his secret as an atomic bombing survivor for nearly 70 years. He did not tell his wife, and he always feared people would see the burns on his face.

Today Lee, a Korean born in Japan, is teaching young people to tell survivors' stories. He also wants them to learn about the difficulty that Koreans have faced in Japan.

"Survivors won't be here 20 years from now, but our stories must be," said Lee. He will meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after Thursday's memorial to demand Japan do more to ban nuclear weapons.

About 20,000 ethnic Koreans who lived in Hiroshima are believed to have died in the nuclear attack. The city had many Korean workers, including slave-laborers at factories tied to Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945.

At a memorial Wednesday for Korean victims, Lee prayed for those who died.

On the morning of August 6, 1945, 16-year-old Lee watched the sky turned yellowish orange. He suffered burns that took four months to heal.

When he returned to work, co-workers stayed away, saying he had "A-bomb disease." He decided not to tell anyone about the atomic bombing because it would only increase his suffering when he was trying hard to hide his Korean identity.

Lee lived under a Japanese name, Masaichi Egawa, until eight years ago when he began speaking out.

"To tell my story, I had to explain why Koreans are in Japan," he said. "Now I have nothing to hide."

Michiko Kodama, assistant secretary-general of the Japan Confederation of A and H Bomb Sufferers' Organizations, narrates her experience on a livestream of 'Kataribe' or story-telling session Sunday, July 12, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Michiko Kodama, assistant secretary-general of the Japan Confederation of A and H Bomb Sufferers' Organizations, narrates her experience on a livestream of 'Kataribe' or story-telling session Sunday, July 12, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Michiko Kodama, 82

"For me the war isn't over," Michiko Kodama said in an interview. "Even 75 years later, we continue to suffer because of radiation...And nuclear weapons still exist."

On the day of the bombing, 75 years ago, seven-year-old Kodama saw a bright light in the sky from her classroom.

She lost her cousins within weeks of the bombing, then her parents, brothers and even her daughter. All died of cancer or from the radiation exposure. Kodama has lived in fear that she would be next.

There were also years of discrimination and humiliation.

One day, when she went to a clinic and showed her medical papers, a worker said publicly that she was a survivor and another patient moved away from her.

"I still...hurt from the discrimination; that is what sits the heaviest in my heart" she said.

I'm Susan Shand.

The Associated Press reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

shame– n. a feeling of guilt, regret or sadness because you know or have done something wrong

hereditary– adj.something passed down from parent to child from before birth

revenge– n.the act of hurting someone because they hurt you

host– n.someone who talks to guests and leads a TV show

monster– n.a cruel, evil person

humiliation– n.to be made to feel ashamed and foolish

abolish– v. to officially end or stop something

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/06/9491/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/06/9491/VOA Special EnglishThu, 6 Aug 2020 01:51:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Broadway Theater Workers Find 'Side Gigs' While Industry Remains Closed]]>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/2020/08/06/5234/

New York City's theater industry remains closed because of COVID-19, but many theater workers are finding ways to earn money.

Some Broadway performers now offer dance or musical training online. Other workers design jewelry or make toys. Still others sell skincare products.

These occupations may not command pay equal to that of their old theater jobs. But Broadway's many now-unemployed workers say any earnings are helpful.

The costume maker

Amy Micallef is among them. Normally, she makes costumes, the clothing worn by actors in plays. She has worked on major Broadway productions including Hamilton and Frozen.

Currently, her skills are being put to another use: toy making.

But Micallef's creations are designed more for adult use than child play. Her soft, round toys are made to look like the new coronavirus. Each one sells for $23 at the online store Etsy.

Micallef invites buyers to use the little corona balls when they feel angry, worried, or troubled.

"Sometimes you need to throw something against the wall, you need to step on something. Do you want to run that thing over with your car? Honey, be my guest," she said.

This image released by Amy Micallef shows plush toy representations of COVID-19. Micallef, a Broadway seamstress who has worked in the wardrobe departments of
This image released by Amy Micallef shows plush toy representations of COVID-19. Micallef, a Broadway seamstress who has worked in the wardrobe departments of "Hamilton," "Waitress" and "Frozen," sells the toys as her side hustle, while Broadway production.

The choreographer

Ali Solomon might like having a toy corona ball herself. Until recently, she worked as a choreographer, a person who creates dances.

Solomon's career in musicals was going strong when the coronavirus health crisis hit hard in mid-March. Like many in the industry, she was working on several productions at once, including Trevor: The Musical and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But suddenly all the projects came to a halt.

"You're at the top of your game after working for so many years and now to go find a job in another industry, where do you start?" she said, adding, "You're lucky if you'll make minimum wage."

Right now, Solomon is working as a salesperson for skin care business Rodan and Fields. She also teaches dance in-person and online.

"I'm starting to add little bits of income," she said. "None of it will compare to what I was making before. But it's something and luckily I've been able to save."

Solomon added that she fears those savings will shrink fast because of the high cost of living in New York City.

The actor

"Actors' normal side gigs are catering and even those jobs don't exist," said Jeanna de Waal, the lead actor in the upcoming musical, Diana.

De Waal has gone from acting to operating an online business she created in 2017 with her sister, Dani. At first, the company, called Broadway Weekends, offered in-person theater camps for adults. After the shutdown, she moved the training camps online. She began adding people she knew from the theater business as teachers.

"All my friends were unemployed. So, it was very easy to ask around," she said.

Broadway Weekends now offers up to 30 classes a week on the Zoom internet conferencing site.

De Waal says Broadway Weekends now has more than 7,000 students registered. She is working to establish a non-profit version and an educational division for school children.

The producer

Broadway producers have donated millions of dollars into emergency aid collections for theater workers. But one producer is using her money to pay dancers to lead her online exercise and dance training program.

Jenna Segal has produced shows including Hadestown and What the Constitution Means to Me. After the New York theaters closed, she launched Get In Shape Grrl! on Facebook. The project has since expanded and now has about 15,000 members. The cost of membership? Zero dollars.

"I just thought to myself, 'Wouldn't it be fun to bring Broadway to people who are sad because the season was just about to open? Let's do something where they can participate and we can keep dancers employed,'" said Segal.

A union leader's worries…

Adam Krauthamer is president of the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, the largest local union of professional musicians in the world.

Kauthamer says the entire arts world is facing the biggest threat to its existence ever. He added that many of his union's 7,000 members may not return to Broadway theaters and other performance spaces. He worries that the sound of New York may soon be very different without help.

"If the right politicians and philanthropists and people who help the arts ... do not act to put together a program that will save culture and the arts in New York City, it's going to change as we know it forever."

The situation is sure to worsen following the end last month of the U.S. government's $600-a-week pandemic unemployment aid program. New York theaters do not plan to reopen until at least January.

…but the costumer expresses hope

Yet Amy Micallef, the costumer-turned-toy maker, trusts in a brighter future.

She says she knows two very important things that many others may not believe.

"This will end. It will. I promise it will,' she said. 'And second, there is good on the other side."

I'm Caty Weaver.

The Associated Press reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted it VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

toy n. a plaything, usually for children

guest n. a person who is invited to a place or an event ​

minimum adj. least or lowest possible in amount or degree

income n. money that is earned from work, investments, business, etc.​

gig n. a job for a musician, an actor, etc.​

cater v. to provide food and drinks at a party, meeting, etc., especially as a job​

participate v. to be involved with others in doing something : to take part in an activity or event with others​

philanthropist n. a wealthy person who gives money and time to help make life better for other people​

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/06/5234/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/06/5234/VOA Special EnglishThu, 6 Aug 2020 01:16:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Ammonium Nitrate: Fertilizer behind the Beirut Explosion]]>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/2020/08/06/7920/

Lebanese officials say ammonium nitrate, a substance used as fertilizer in agriculture, likely caused the massive explosion in Beirut.

The explosion killed at least 100 people and injured more than 4,000 others on Tuesday. It flattened much of the port and damaged buildings across the capital city.

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun said more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored without safety measures for six years at the port. He added the government was "determined to investigate and expose what happened as soon as possible."

In agriculture, ammonium nitrate fertilizer is released into the soil to help plant growth. Under normal conditions, the substance does not explode easily.

Explosives experts say the Beirut explosion was likely caused by a fire at a storage of fireworks nearby.

Boaz Hayoun works closely with the Israeli government on safety and issues involving explosives. He told the Associated Press, "Before the big explosion, you can see in the center of the fire, you can see sparks, you can hear sounds like popcorn and you can hear whistles."

Hayoun said those are common signs of the burning of fireworks.

Jeffrey Lewis, a missile expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, agreed. He said, "If you have a fire raging next to something explosive, and you don't put it out, it blows up."

Destruction is seen after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020.
Destruction is seen after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020.

Previous explosions

Ammonium nitrate has caused several earlier industrial explosions in countries including Germany, the United States and China.

In 1921, a massive explosion involving ammonium nitrate at a chemical plant killed more than 500 people in Oppau, Germany.

And, in 1947, a burning cigarette caused an explosion in Galveston, Texas as workers were loading the fertilizer into a ship. It killed 581 people and injured 3,500.

More recently, 173 people were killed at a factory in Tianjin, China. That 2015 explosion involved ammonium nitrate and other chemicals. Witnesses to the event said it felt like an "atomic bomb" had hit.

Ammonium nitrate has also been used in terrorist acts in the United States.

A truck filled with the fertilizer exploded in New York City in 1993 at the World Trade Center. Kuwait-born Ramzi Yousef was found guilty of the bombing and is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison.

On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh, a former American soldier, left a truck in front of a federal office building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Inside the truck was a powerful bomb made out of fertilizer, fuel and other chemicals. McVeigh exploded the bomb killing 168 people.

Scene of Massive Explosion in Beirut please wait Embed share Embed share The code has been copied to your clipboard.

The URL has been copied to your clipboard

No media source currently available

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/06/7920/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/06/7920/VOA Special EnglishThu, 6 Aug 2020 00:54:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Parents Struggle as Schools Reopen During Rise in COVID-19 Cases]]>Ashley Thompson如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/06/8616/

The first day of school is always a hard time for parents. But this year is different. Now, on top of the usual concerns about your child getting used to new teachers and classmates, there is COVID-19.

Rachel Adamus was feeling those emotions Monday morning as she got her 7-year-old son Paul ready for his first day of second grade. The same day she was preparing his 5-year-old sister Neva for the start of kindergarten.

Rachel Adamus struggled to balance her concerns about the coronavirus with her belief that her children need the socialization and in-person training that school provides.

COVID-19 has killed about 155,000 people in the United States. Adamus herself has lost two family members to the disease: an aunt in Alabama and her husband's great uncle in New Jersey.

In many parts of the country, new daily case numbers are rising.

Adamus said of her children, "We have kept them protected for so long...They haven't been to restaurants. We only go to parks if no one else is there...And now they're going to be in the classroom with however many kids for an entire day with a teacher."

Rachel Adamus holds her son Paul, 7, in front of their house before the bus arrives for the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, in Dallas, Georgia, USA.
Rachel Adamus holds her son Paul, 7, in front of their house before the bus arrives for the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, in Dallas, Georgia, USA.

The Adamus children are among tens of thousands of U.S. students who began in-person classes Monday for the first time since March. Parents in Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee are also among those dealing with the start of the new school year this week.

Many schools that offer in-person classes are also giving parents a stay-at-home online education choice. Adamus, like many other parents, decided against that. Other schools are planning a mix of the two methods, with children going between in-person classes and online learning programs.

But a rise in COVID-19 cases in many states has led some areas to cancel in-person classes at least for the start of the school year.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have urged schools to reopen.

However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, warned Monday that, in some places, bringing children back to school would not be "prudent." In other words, it would not be a wise move. That is because many cities and states are still dealing with rising case numbers.

Schools also reopened this week in the state of Indiana. One student at Greenfield-Central Junior High tested positive for COVID-19 on the first day back to class. The student was separated from others in the school's medical office.

"This really does not change our plans," said Harold Olin, who supervises the area's schools. "We knew that we would have a positive case at some point in the fall. We simply did not think it would happen on day one."

In a photo provided by Newton County Schools, teaching assistant Crystal May talks to kindergarten student Lewis Henry Thompson, 5, as she takes his temperature at Newton County Elementary School in Decatur, Mississippi, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.
In a photo provided by Newton County Schools, teaching assistant Crystal May talks to kindergarten student Lewis Henry Thompson, 5, as she takes his temperature at Newton County Elementary School in Decatur, Mississippi, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.

In Newton County, Mississippi, fourth grader Avery Mangum returned to school for the first time in months to find many things changed. She had to wear a face mask, sit in an assigned seat, and eat in her classroom instead of in the school's cafeteria. When students in her class moved around the school, they followed their teacher in a straight line with one arm held out in front of them. This is to make sure they stayed at least an arm's length away from other children.

The playground at Avery's school was divided in two parts. Some students could play on half of the equipment, and others on the other half.

It was really hard to socially distance while we were playing, Avery said. "Everyone wants to play with their friends and do all these things but we can't.

In Georgia's Paulding County, both of Adamus' children wore face masks. But school officials there have not made that a requirement.

Many teachers in Paulding are uneasy about the return to school. Some are shocked that the school district has refused to require face coverings or delay the start date for in-person classes, as nearby districts have done. But the labor unions representing Georgia's teachers are weak, so there has been little organized opposition.

"I desperately want to return to face-to-face teaching," Paulding teacher Steven Hanf told a school board meeting last month. "But not until it is safe," he said.

One student who did not start school in Paulding County this week was Aliyah Williams. Her mother, Erica Williams, decided to keep her 14-year-old daughter at home; two of her younger sons have a medical condition that puts them at risk.

Williams does not believe her daughter will fall behind in school if she continues her online studies. But she is worried about Aliyah's inability to see her friends.

"She's a social butterfly," Williams said. "That's a big part of her personality."

I'm Ashley Thompson.

And I'm John Russell.

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/06/8616/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/06/8616/VOA Special EnglishThu, 6 Aug 2020 00:54:00 UTC
<![CDATA[‘Smart' Face Mask Aims to Improve Communication in New Normal]]>Bryan Lynn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/2020/08/06/9571/

A Japanese company has created a "smart" mask that aims to improve communication for people wearing face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The use of face masks has become the new normal in parts of the world still struggling to reduce spread of the coronavirus. However, masks and other kinds of coverings can affect the quality of communication between wearers.

It can be more difficult to hear voices through the coverings. Many business and public spaces also have social distancing barriers in place, which also make it harder for people to be heard and understood.

The wearable electronic device is designed to help improve speech interactions in such conditions.

Japanese startup Donut Robotics' c-mask and its mobile phone application is pictured during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan June 23, 2020. Picture taken June 23, 2020. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Japanese startup Donut Robotics' c-mask and its mobile phone application is pictured during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan June 23, 2020. Picture taken June 23, 2020. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

The Japanese startup company Donut Robotics calls its invention the "c-mask." The device is meant to fit over other kinds of face masks commonly worn by the public.

The c-mask is made of soft plastic material. It contains a built-in microphone and has holes in the front to let air in. When it is turned on, the mask uses Bluetooth technology to connect to a mobile device.

An app then helps users perform several actions, including turning speech into text, completing telephone calls and making the user's voice louder. The device can also translate a person's voice from Japanese into eight other languages.

The engineers who developed the smart mask had already built robots for use in Japanese airports to provide guidance and translation services to travelers.

But with the travel industry currently suffering big losses, the future of the robots became unclear. So, engineers sought to come up with a new product to fill a need.

Taisuke Ono is the head of Donut Robotics. He told the Reuters news agency, "We worked hard for years to develop a robot and we have used that technology to create a product that responds to how the coronavirus has reshaped society."

Ono told international broadcaster CNN that the company was able to raise money to develop the smart mask through a campaign on the Japanese crowdfunding service Fundinno.

He noted that the effort raised $265,000 in just the first 37 minutes. 'It was very surprising, because it would usually take three or four months to get that kind of money,' Ono said.

The company produced a working model of the mask within a month by using software developed for its other robot products. The mask design was similar to one created years ago by one of the company's engineers that mapped facial muscles to interpret speech.

Japanese startup Donut Robotics' CEO Taisuke Ono wears a c-mask as he demonstrates the connected face masks messaging function with his chief engineer, Takafumi Okabe, during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan June 23, 2020. Picture taken June 23, 2020. (REU
Japanese startup Donut Robotics' CEO Taisuke Ono wears a c-mask as he demonstrates the connected face masks messaging function with his chief engineer, Takafumi Okabe, during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan June 23, 2020. Picture taken June 23, 2020. (REU

Ono said the company plans to ship its first 5,000 c-masks to buyers in Japan starting in September. He is also looking to sell the devices in China, the United States and Europe and says he has received strong interest in the product.

Donut Robotics plans to sell the devices for about $40 per mask, in an effort to capture a mass market that did not exist until a few months ago.

"We hope that our device will be useful in a society where people naturally practice social distancing," the company states on its website.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from Reuters, CNN and Donut Robotics. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

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

Quiz - 'Smart' Face Mask Aims to Improve Communication in New Normal

Start the Quiz to find out

Start Quiz

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

Words in This Story

mask – n. a covering for the face

interaction – n. the act of talking or doing other things with people

app – n. a program for a smartphone or other device that performs a special function​

text – n. written words

translate – n. to change written or spoken words from one language to another

society n. people in general thought of as living together in organized communities with shared laws, traditions, and values

interpret v. to explain the meaning of something in a certain way​

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/06/9571/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/06/9571/VOA Special EnglishThu, 6 Aug 2020 00:33:00 UTC
<![CDATA[WHO: ‘There's No Silver Bullet’ against COVID-19]]>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/2020/08/04/7309/

The World Health Organization, or WHO, warned on Monday that there might never be a "silver bullet" or an extraordinary solution like a perfect vaccine against COVID-19.

WHO officials added that the road to normality would be long. And some countries would need to re-think how they deal with the health crisis.

Johns Hopkins University estimates that, by August 3, more than 18 million people around the world had been infected with the disease and more than 690,000 had died. Also, some nations that thought they were over the worst of the crisis are experiencing a resurgence.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged nations to strongly enforce health measures. They include wearing face coverings, social distancing, hand-washing and testing.

"The message to people and governments is clear: 'Do it all,'' Tedros said from the United Nations agency's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. He said face coverings should become a symbol of togetherness around the world.

"A number of vaccines are now in phase three … trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there's no silver bullet at the moment - and there might never be," he noted.

Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a news conference after a meeting of the Emergency Committee on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland January 30, 2020.
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a news conference after a meeting of the Emergency Committee on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland January 30, 2020.

Tedros said while the coronavirus is the biggest health emergency in almost 100 years, the international effort to find a vaccine is unlike anything seen before.

The WHO chief also pointed to some concerns. "We may not have a vaccine that may work, or its protection could be for just a few months, not more … Until we finish the … trials, we will not know."

Dr. Mike Ryan is the WHO's head of emergencies. He said countries with high transmission rates, including Brazil and India, needed to prepare for a big fight: "The way out is long," he said, noting success will require ongoing efforts.

"Some countries are really going to have to take a step back now and really take a look at how they are addressing the pandemic within their national borders," he added.

WHO officials also said an early investigation team had completed its China mission. The mission, demanded by the United States, was to search and identify the start of the virus. The U.S. is the WHO's top donor and plans to leave the body next year. The U.S. government accuses the WHO of being too easy on China.

A larger, WHO-led team of Chinese and international experts is planned next. But the timing and other details of that are unclear. Ryan said China had already given some information but some knowledge is still missing.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Michael Shields and Emma Farge reported on this story for Reuters. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

resurgencen. a growth or increase that occurs after a period without growth or increase

symbol n. an action, object, or event that expresses or represents a particular idea or quality

phasen. a part or step in a process

transmissionn. the act or process by which something is spread or passed from one person or thing to another

address(ing) – v. to deal with a matter, issue or problem

pandemicn. an occurrence in which a disease spreads very quickly and affects a large number of people over a wide area or throughout the world

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/04/7309/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/04/7309/VOA Special EnglishWed, 5 Aug 2020 14:16:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Boat Buyers Seek Fun, Safety during Pandemic]]>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/2020/08/05/0203/

American Brandon Mitchell had big plans for this summer. He planned to travel from his home in Maine to visit relatives in Michigan. He also wanted to take his wife and three children to Walt Disney World in Florida. But the coronavirus pandemic changed those plans.

So, he and the family bought a boat instead.

"We're going to take [to] the sea. There's so much to explore," Mitchell said. "It'll get us the recreation and the escape that we're not going to be able to get anywhere else."

A growing number of Americans like Mitchell are looking to the water during the coronavirus pandemic. And that is good news for the boat industry.

From Maine to California, boat dealers are reporting a record number of sales. Boat sales began rising in the spring in warm-weather states before expanding to other parts of the country, like Maine and Minnesota. Ports and boat repair shops are flooded by the wave of interest. There also are waiting lists for slips, places to keep boats at ports.

Matt Gruhn is with the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, an industry group. He told The Associated Press that a recent study showed more than 70% of boat dealers were either completely out of boats or had very few left.

The reason is simple: People are looking for something to do and a safe place to go at a time when COVID-19 has raised safety concerns. Oceans and lakes are good places for people to socially distance while having fun at the same time.

"I've never seen anything like this," said Rob Soucy from Port Harbor Marine, a business which describes itself as Maine's biggest boat dealer. "Since the end of April, we've seen boat sales at historic levels."

At one point, requests for boats from his company were up 300 to 400 percent. Soucy said he expects to sell about 1,000 boats this year. That is about 200 more boats than usual.

"It's like wildfire. People are searching for ways to get on the water," said Tracy Coughlin from the Yarmouth Boat Yard, also in Maine.

Coughlin said sales are up 65% at Yarmouth Boat Yard and a sister company, Moose Landing Marina in Naples, Maine. She added that the single biggest month for sales growth has been June, when sales increased 85 percent.

Boats come in all sizes, shapes, and prices. A new aluminum fishing boat with an outboard engine might cost $10,500, while a 13-meter long cruiser could cost up to $900,000.

But with vacation travel canceled and other activities on hold, many people are ready to escape on the water.

Chris DiMillo is president and founder of DiMillo's Yacht Sales in Portland, Maine. He told The Associated Press, "Our inventory in the market in general is as thin as I've seen. We're getting calls from people who said they'd never buy a boat. And now they're buying boats."

In Southern California, sales are up 40 to 50 percent at Marina del Rey Yacht Sales, near Los Angeles, and the Long Beach Yacht Center, said owner Steve Curran.

"I've been in the business for 50 years, so I've seen lots of ups and downs. I certainly was not expecting this," he said.

But with all the new boaters, there are safety concerns that do not directly come from the coronavirus.

The United States Coast Guard advises safety classes for new boaters. But in-person training has been hard to find this summer because of the pandemic. Some boaters have discovered safety classes online.

Chris Edmonston is president of the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water in Annapolis, Maryland. He said, "We want people to be out on the water enjoying themselves, but everyone has to take into account safety."

Boating is a nice activity for those who had to cancel other activities, such as missed summer camps, sports programs or other events. Boating gives families a chance to get away from land, remove face masks and enjoy themselves.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

David Sharp reported on this story for The Associated Press. Jonathan Evans adapted this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/05/0203/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/05/0203/VOA Special EnglishTue, 4 Aug 2020 23:06:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Boy From State of Rhode Island Finds Record-sized Clam]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/05/9786/

An 11-year-old boy in the American state of Rhode Island recently discovered an unusual example of sea life. He found what is thought to be one of the largest quahogs ever found in the state. Quahogs are a kind of large clam that is eaten as food.

Cooper Monaco was looking for clams with his grandfather when he found the large creature. Monaco gave it to the University of Rhode Island's Marine Science Research Facility in Narragansett, the university said in a recent statement.

The clam is 14.5 centimeters across and weighs nearly 1.3 kilograms. The Department of Environmental Management for the state does not keep quahog records. But a usual quahog grows to about 10 centimeters across, the university said.

Monaco described how he found the creature in a statement.

"I was down on my hands and knees in the water looking for clams, and I touched this huge rock thing," he said. Monaco added, "I always pull out rocks and throw them to the side and look under them. And then I felt the edge of it and I thought, 'holy moly, this is a clam.'"

Holy moly is an expression that shows surprise.

Monaco knew the quahog was unusually large, so he told his mother not to cook it.

Ed Baker, the manager of the URI Marine Science Research Facility, plans to put the quahog on display.

I'm John Russell.

John Russell adapted this story from reports by the Associated Press. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

clam – n. a type of shellfish that lives in sand or mud, has a light-colored shell with two parts, and is eaten both cooked and raw

knee – n. the joint that bends at the middle of your leg

display n. an arrangement of objects intended to decorate, advertise, entertain, or inform people about something

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/05/9786/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/05/9786/VOA Special EnglishTue, 4 Aug 2020 23:06:00 UTC
<![CDATA[What Is Cancel Culture?]]>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/2020/08/05/5115/

The term "cancel culture" is appearing in the news a lot lately.

But what exactly is "cancel culture?"

Here are some explanations, gathered by the Associated Press, from people who have been writing about the issue.

Writer and reporter George Packer has explained that it is an event where many voices, mostly on social media, try "to silence a point of view that they find offensive by trying to damage or destroy the reputation of the person who has given offense."

Tressie McMillan Cottom has a different opinion. "I don't think it's real. But there are reasonable people who believe in it," the writer and educator said. "Accountability has always existed. But some people are being held accountable in ways that are new to them."

It '[takes] away the ability of a person with whom you disagree to ever be taken seriously as a writer/editor/speaker/activist/intellectual, or… to be hired or employed," says Letty Cottin Pogrebin. She is an activist and founding editor of Ms. magazine.

In tweets, online letters, opinion pieces and books, people from every political point of view are angry about what they consider a growing intolerance for other opinions. A Politico/Morning Consult public opinion study released last week shows 44 percent of Americans disapprove of it, 32 percent approve and the remaining 24 percent had no opinion or said they did not know what it was.

There are recent examples of unpopular "cancellations." They include reports of what happened to the owner of several Minneapolis food stores. His business was threatened with boycotts after his daughter wrote words on social media that were offensive.

A data expert was fired by the company Civis Analytics after he tweeted a study finding that nonviolent protests increase support for Democratic candidates and violent protests decrease it. Civis Analytics has denied he was fired for the tweet.

These events "damage the lives of innocent people" and have little purpose, Yascha Mounk wrote in the magazine The Atlantic last month. Mounk has been criticized for saying that many educated, important people are saying it is acceptable to give up on values like due process and free speech."

Discussions can be confusing however. Those who do not like intolerance can be unhappy with those who do not agree. A few weeks ago, more than 100 artists and thinkers signed a letter co-written by Packer and published by Harper's. It warned against big thinking that weakens free and open discussion and demands conformity of thought.

The letter was signed by many people with different political ideas, from far-left Noam Chomsky to the conservative David Frum.

The writer and trans activist Jennifer Finney Boylan, who signed the letter, quickly disowned it because she "did not know who else" had signed their names. Salman Rushdie was one of the signers. In 1989, he was forced into hiding. Rushdie received death threats from Iranian Islamic leaders because he had written a novel called "The Satanic Verses." Some online critics said the letter was from self-important people who knew nothing about censorship.

One of the organizers of the letter, the writer Thomas Chatterton Williams, later wrote about an incident on Twitter. He wrote that he had asked a guest to leave his home after an argument over Bari Weiss. Weiss is the former New York Times writer who quit over what she called political correctness at the newspaper.

"The only speech these powerful people seem to care about is their own," the feminist writer Jessica Valente wrote about the Harper's letter.

It "is certainly not about free speech…'canceled' is a label we all understand, a powerful person who's been held to account," she wrote.

FILE - Bill Cosby departs after his sentencing hearing at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Sept. 25, 2018, in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
FILE - Bill Cosby departs after his sentencing hearing at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Sept. 25, 2018, in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Hard to define

However, "cancel culture" remains hard to define because it appears to have no limits. It has no single cause, ideology or punishment.

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Bill Cosby were convicted of sex crimes and are in prison. Actor Kevin Spacey was accused of sex crimes. He was not been convicted but has made no movies since he faced trial.

Others people are only "canceled" a little. Movie director Woody Allen was accused of sexual abuse by his daughter Dylan Farrow. His business deal with Amazon was cancelled. But, he continues to release movies internationally. He recently published a book about his life.

But what about politicians?

"Politicians can ride this out…if the public is willing to go along, then they can sometimes survive things perhaps they shouldn't survive," Packer says.

I'm Susan Shand.

The Associated Press reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

point of view –phrase. a way of looking at or thinking about a subject

reputation–n. the common opinion that people have about someone

accountability–n. the degree to which someone is held accountable for something

intolerance–n. a lack of willingness to permit or accept something

due process –n.(legal)the requirement that the rules in a legal case must protect the rights of all the people involved

conformity–n. behavior that is the same as most other people in a society or group

censorship–n. the process of removing opinions from books, movies, letters and other media

feminist–adj. something related to feminism, a movement which seeks to support women's rights and interests

ideology–n. a set of ideas and beliefs of a group or political party

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/05/5115/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/05/5115/VOA Special EnglishTue, 4 Aug 2020 23:04:00 UTC
<![CDATA[COVID-19 and Your Pet: What You Need to Know]]>Anna Matteo如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/05/5827/

The new coronavirus continues to infect people around the world, so many of us are looking for information about the virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

The Google Trends website has been following the top virus-related questions in Google's search engine. In June and July, one of the most-asked questions was – can animals get COVID-19?

This coronavirus, also called SARS-CoV-2, is new to humans. Where it came from has yet to be confirmed, and research is continuing. Researchers already know a lot about other viruses in the coronavirus family. Most of them, they say, began in animals.

Experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain that these viruses include MERS-CoV, the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS. It also includes SARS-CoV, the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

CDC experts also give this explanation: "Sometimes coronaviruses that infect animals can evolve and make people sick and become a new human coronavirus." Three recent examples of this are MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.

The CDC is the top public health agency in the United States.

Members of the Chilean Police Canine Training team play with a Golden Retriever dog named Clifford, before the beginning of its training session aimed to detect people infected with coronavirus COVID-19
Members of the Chilean Police Canine Training team play with a Golden Retriever dog named Clifford, before the beginning of its training session aimed to detect people infected with coronavirus COVID-19

Can animals get COVID-19?

The CDC confirms that, worldwide, a small number of cats, dogs and other pets have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Most of these infections came after the animals were in close contact with human carriers of the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also reports that some dogs and cats in contact with infected humans have tested positive for COVID-19.

Like humans, infected pets might get sick or they might not have any signs of the disease. The CDC says most pets sick with COVID had a minor form of the disease and fully recovered.

On July 30, the Associated Press reported that the first dog in the United States sickened by COVID-19 has died.

Named Buddy, the 7-year-old German shepherd lived in New York. He became sick in April while his owner was recovering from the coronavirus. Buddy had the same symptoms as human patients. These symptoms included difficulty breathing.

Buddy was put to sleep, or euthanized. The decision to end his life came after he developed very serious health problems.

It is not known if the coronavirus played a part in those very serious health problems. Animal doctors told the family that blood tests showed Buddy likely had lymphoma, a blood cancer.

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 7, 2020 file photo, a woman walks her dog on a Paris bridge, with the Eiffel tower in background, during a nationwide confinement to counter the COVID-19.
FILE - In this Tuesday, April 7, 2020 file photo, a woman walks her dog on a Paris bridge, with the Eiffel tower in background, during a nationwide confinement to counter the COVID-19.

Can I get COVID-19 from my pet?

The CDC's website reports that "at this time, there is no evidence that animals" play a large part in "spreading the virus that causes COVID-19." The WHO says pet-to-people transmission of the coronavirus is unlikely.

COVID-19 is spread through human-to-human transmission, mainly "through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks."

Keeping you and your pets safe

Until more is known about how the coronavirus affects animals, experts say to treat pets as you would family members. The CDC suggests the following:

  • Keep cats inside your home when possible.
  • Walk dogs on a leash at least 2 meters away from others.
  • Avoid taking your pet to crowded public places.
  • Do not put face coverings on pets.
  • Limit your pet's contact with non-family members.
  • There is no evidence that the virus can spread to people from the skin and the fur of pets. So, do not clean your pet with chemical cleaners not approved for animal use.

Protect pets if you are sick

If you are sick with COVID-19, you should stay away from your pets and other animals, just as you would with people.

When possible, have another person in your home care for your pet while you are sick. However, if you are sick and must care for your pet or be around animals, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

If you are sick with COVID-19 and your pet becomes sick, do not take your pet to the doctor. Call the doctor and let them know you have been sick.

And that's the Health & Lifestyle report for this week.

I'm Anna Matteo.

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English with information from the Associated Press and the CDC. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

evolve – v. to change or develop slowly often into a better, more complex, or more advanced state

positive – adj. good or useful

symptom – n. a change in the body or mind which indicates that a disease is present

leash – n. a long, thin piece of rope, chain, etc., that is used for holding a dog or other animal

fur – n. the hairy coat of an animal

transmission – n. the act or process by which something is spread or passed from one person or thing to another

droplet – n. a tiny drop (as of a liquid)

cough – v. (also n.) to force air through your throat with a short, loud noise often because you are sick

sneeze – v. (also n.) to suddenly force air out through your nose and mouth with a usually loud noise because your body is reacting to dust, a sickness, etc.

euthanize – v. to killing or permit the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (such as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/05/5827/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/05/5827/VOA Special EnglishTue, 4 Aug 2020 23:03:00 UTC
<![CDATA[‘Bring a Chair and Sunblock‘ Say Boarding Schools]]>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/2020/08/05/7541/

Students at a small boarding school in California got an unusual request this summer: Come back in the autumn with your own chair, a sun hat and plenty of sunblock.

Moving classes outdoors is a central piece of Midland School's plan to get its 85 students back to in-person classes. By holding classes outdoors, the school hopes to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

It will not be a huge change for Midland students. They already grow much of the food they eat in the school's garden. They also heat water for their showers by lighting a fire. And they hike through the school's 1,157 hectares of land.

A blackboard counting homegrown vegetables is seen on the campus of Midland School, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Los Olivos, California, U.S., July 20, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A blackboard counting homegrown vegetables is seen on the campus of Midland School, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Los Olivos, California, U.S., July 20, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The school hopes students will be tested for COVID-19 and will stay home as much as possible before coming back to the grounds in Los Olivos. The town is about 200 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles.

Christopher Barnes is Midland's Head of School. He told the Reuters news agency that he tells the students they are creating a "special year. Don't expect it to be like any other."

Midland's return to school has been delayed until the middle September. Governor Gavin Newsom has barred counties in the state with rising virus cases from restarting in-person classes.

Cases continue to rise across California. Barnes is prepared to further delay the autumn term or hold classes online if needed.

'Bring a Chair and Sunblock' say Boarding Schools please wait Embed share Embed share The code has been copied to your clipboard.

The URL has been copied to your clipboard

No media source currently available

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/05/7541/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/05/7541/VOA Special EnglishTue, 4 Aug 2020 23:02:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Japan to Restart Tourism as COVID-19 Infections Rise]]>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/2020/08/04/1230/

Japan is preparing for an increase in the number of new coronavirus infections. Recently, more than 1,000 cases were reported for two straight days in the country.

The news comes about one week after the announcement of a national travel campaign to restart the tourism industry.

National broadcaster NHK reported that the country had 1,266 new cases on Thursday. That number is higher than the old record of 1,264. The virus is spreading quickly in Tokyo and several other areas of the country.

Northern Japan's Iwate prefecture was the last-remaining area free from coronavirus infection. It had its first cases recently, while the southern island of Okinawa had 44 infections, hitting record numbers for three straight days.

However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government launched a national travel campaign on July 22. The goal is to restart the tourism industry and help the economy.

A member of the World Health Organization's influenza group said the campaign was not well timed. He also said it created problems for those who fear the virus, but are in need of money and business.

"I'm not going to lie, I get a bit shocked when I see that someone's visiting from far away," said Keiko Tsukahara. He is the co-manager of a small hotel in the hot springs town of Nikko, north of Tokyo.

"But we have had zero income for the past few months and we need customers," he said.

Mayor Soichiro Miyashita of the town of Mutsu, however, ordered 21 city buildings and other city-owned tourist attractions to be closed. He said health was more important than business.

The small town in northern Japan's Aomori prefecture has only one hospital, with just four beds for patients with infectious diseases. It has so far reported no COVID-19 cases.

"As we experience the second wave of cases, it shouldn't be a choice between our lives or the economy," said Miyashita.

He added that any efforts to help the tourism industry should have been started at a later time when the spread of the coronavirus has been reduced.

WHO criticizes move to reopen

The WHO panel's Norio Sugaya criticized the timing of Abe's campaign.

"I'm all for supporting the tourism industry...But we should not do that when infection is resurgent. The virus spreads as people move. This is clearly a mistake," Sugaya said.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged shorter operating hours for restaurants that serve alcohol and bars next month to try to stop the spread of the virus.

The government will offer $1,900 to stores that agree with its request to close at 10 p.m. until August 31.

Besides urging citizens to travel around the country, Japan is also slowly opening to foreigners.

The government plans to let foreign students and workers return starting August 5, the foreign ministry said.

I'm Susan Shand.

The Reuters News Agency reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr.was the editor.

Words in This Story

tourism –n. related to the industry of providing services and entertainment for travelers

prefecture–n. an area of local government in certain countries, such as Japan and France

influenza –n. a common illness caused by a virus

customer –n. a person who buys goods or services from a business

resurgent –adj. becoming popular, active or successful again after a period of being less so

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/04/1230/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/04/1230/VOA Special EnglishTue, 4 Aug 2020 02:35:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Study: Nearly 3 Billion Animals Harmed in Australian Wildfires]]>Bryan Lynn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/2020/08/04/5419/

The World Wildlife Fund for Nature - WWF - reports that nearly 3 billion animals were killed or displaced by Australia's wildfires in 2019 and 2020. The number, reported in late July, was about three times higher than an earlier WWF estimate.

A team of 10 scientists studied more than 11 million hectares of Australia's countryside to create the latest estimate.

In total, the wildfires affected about 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds and 51 million frogs, the WWF said. The group noted that koalas, kangaroos and other native animals were among the affected wildlife.

"This ranks as one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history," said WWF-Australia Chief Executive Officer Dermot O'Gorman.

The WWF said it used different methods to estimate wildlife populations, including information from over 100,000 studies. The scientists created models to estimate the number of creatures found in areas destroyed by fire.

Project leader Lily Van Eeden from the University of Sydney said the research was the first continent-wide examination of animals affected by wildfires. "Other nations can build upon this research to improve understanding of bushfire impacts everywhere," she said.

The total includes wildlife that fled destroyed habitats. These creatures faced a lack of food and shelter or the likelihood of moving into already occupied habitats.

Researchers said the destruction will cause some species to become extinct before their existence is even recorded.

"We don't even know what we are losing," said Chris Dickman, a professor of ecology at the University of Sydney. He spoke to Reuters news agency. "These were species that were here and now they have gone... It's almost too tragic to think about," Dickman added.

The WWF report calls for improvements in habitat connectivity to help species escape from fires. It also calls for identifying and protecting habitat that was not burned to help save threatened species. An expanded report on the study is expected later this year.

The wildfires started in September 2019 and continued through March of this year. Scientists say the fires were fueled by higher than normal temperatures and years of drought in the Australian bush. The fires caused 34 human deaths and destroyed nearly 3,000 homes.

The WWF said that over the past year, it had raised money from donors to deploy emergency aid to the front lines of the fires to help injured and displaced wildlife.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Reuters reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English, with additional information coming from the WWF. 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

rank – v. give someone a position on a list of things in order of importance

impact – n. effect on something

habitatn. the natural environment of an animal or plant

species – n. a group of animals or plants that are similar and can produce young animals or plants

extinct – adj. no longer existing in nature

drought n. a period of extended dryness caused by a lack of rain

front lines – n. a position of direct and important influence

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/04/5419/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/04/5419/VOA Special EnglishTue, 4 Aug 2020 02:26:00 UTC
<![CDATA[CES Technology Event Will Take Place Online]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/04/9278/

CES, one of the world's biggest technology conferences, will be an online event this coming January due to the coronavirus health crisis.

The decision marks a change for event organizers, who said in May it would take place as a smaller, in-person gathering in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The decision also creates additional problems for Las Vegas. Like other popular vacation destinations in the United States, the city is suffering economically. More than 170,000 people attended the four-day show this past January, shortly before COVID-19 began to spread across the country.

In Nevada over the past two weeks, the average number of daily new coronavirus cases has increased 27 percent. The state is now listed sixth in the country for new cases of COVID-19 per capita.

The crisis has affected major technology events around the world.

Europe's biggest consumer electronics trade event, Germany's IFA, usually runs for six days. Last year, nearly 25,000 people attended the event. This year, it will run half as long and there will be no public access to the event, which will take place in September.

Web Summit, an event in Portugal that includes well-known heads of technology companies and famous people, will be online this time. Organizers aim to still hold a physical conference in Lisbon in December. But no final decision will be made until early October.

Trade shows are a place where people meet members of the industry, try new devices or make sales. The Events Industry Council reports that they represent $2.5 trillion in worldwide spending. Much of that is likely to be lost if events go online.

The Consumer Technology Association organizes CES. It had said in May that it planned to hold some events in Las Vegas next year. But Gary Shapiro, the group's CEO, said the group's thinking changed as COVID-19 cases rose sharply around the world. That makes it impossible to hold an indoor event in January 2021.

It is also unknown whether employees of big technology companies will be permitted to travel by next January. For example, Google said this week that its employees should work from home until at least July 2021.

The four-day online form of the CES show begins January 6.

I'm Pete Musto.

Joseph Pisani reported on this story for the Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Words in This Story

conference(s) – n. a formal meeting in which many people gather in order to talk about ideas or problems related to a particular topic, such as medicine or business, usually for several days

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

per capitaadv. by or for each person

consumern. a person who buys goods and services

accessn. a way of getting near, at, or to something or someone

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/04/9278/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/04/9278/VOA Special EnglishTue, 4 Aug 2020 02:23:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Managing Your Work, Your Child's Work Online]]>Anna Matteo如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/04/2049/

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

The coronavirus pandemic has changed many things about everyday life. One big change is childcare – or the lack of it.

As many childcare providers closed as part of public safety measures, so did schools, offices and businesses. Social restrictions also tightened. This meant many older adults were unable to help watch or care for their grandchildren.

This left working parents with a sudden, unexpected problem -- working from home with children who also had schoolwork to do.

Many parents struggled to meet work demands while watching over their child's online studies at the same time. Even companies whose job it is to prepare for a pandemic were caught off guard – or unprepared.

The British drug-maker AstraZeneca spent years preparing for a health crisis. However, when it happened, the company was not prepared to help its employees work effectively at home with their children. The company asked its 8,300 employees about childcare and found that at least 1,100 needed help.

Fiona Cicconi heads the company's human resources office. She noted that some employees said they were feeling worried about the work they had to do and about not getting it done.

Several of those working parents are also responsible for trying to produce a vaccine for the disease COVID-19.

So, AstraZeneca did many things to help its employees by helping their children. The company found about 80 teachers and paid them to organize classes online. It developed a computer software program to make planning the lessons easy. And it also found tutors for children needing one-on-one instruction.

Other businesses around the world did similar things to help their employees work through the coronavirus health crisis.

German business software company SAP provided online lessons for children of its workers. Those classes taught performing magic, dancing and learning to play a musical instrument.

In Italy, tire maker Pirelli teamed up with Radiomamma.it to provide online education and fun activities for children. Classes in English, creativity and technology are among the most popular.

However, not all parents have such support from their employer. Many are dealing with their own work, childcare and online learning on their own. I spoke with one woman about her ways of dealing with the situation.

Mary Shelley is a director of information technology at the University of Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. She says when her son's learning went online, she needed strategies to manage her 13-year-old son's education.

During the spring, Shelley says, it seemed easy to keep her son thinking about schoolwork. At that time, nearly all U.S. students were at home and taking classes online. But now during the summer, her son is taking an online pre-Algebra class. However, the methods she used during the regular school year are still helping her now.

Get up early and get organized.

Shelley says the most important thing for her is this: wake up early and get herself organized first.

"I try to get up early and get myself organized for the day … and figure out what's critical to get done for myself and my own work."

Create a routine.

Having a routine is important. A routine gives you set times for the things you need to do, such as waking, studying, taking breaks, eating and exercising.

Create the routine with your child.

When making that routine involve your child. Ask for the child's help. Let them give input, or ideas. This can help a child feel empowered.

Shelley did this and says it gave her son ownership of the process. A child may be more willing to follow a routine if they helped to make it, or as our busy working mom says, "craft" it.

"I worked with him to try to craft a routine together to make sure that he has input on that as well. And I think that has helped him to take ownership of his work and of his day."

Be ready to change your routine.

After you set a routine, see how it works with your family. And be ready to change things.

Shelley describes her process as trial-and-error. She tried some things with her son to see what worked.

At first, the rule was her son had to finish all his schoolwork before playing any video games. But she found that he works better if his work is broken up into two smaller learning periods, instead of one big, long one. The one consistent thing, she adds, all work is done by dinner.

"The only thing that has been totally consistent is to everything done before dinner, and so that leaves his evening free and leaves us free from hassling him in the evenings."

This helps Mary Shelley keep a balance between home life and work life. Experts say this balance is important as many of us continue to work from home.

Experts also say that business leaders' positions toward working from home could help lead to higher productivity and loyalty.

However, they also say that working from home also can present challenges. When work and home are living so close together, parents must set boundaries. They must know when to clock out and leave their work for the day.

And that's the Health & Lifestyle report.

I'm Anna Matteo.

Anna Matteo wrote this story for Learning English with additional reporting from Reuters.

Quiz - Managing Your Work, Your Child's Work Online

Start the Quiz to find out

Start Quiz

Words in This Story

grandchildren – n. the child of one's son or daughter

strategy – n. a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time : the skill of making or carrying out plans to achieve a goal

craft – v. to make or produce (something) with care or skill

input – n. advice or opinions that help someone make a decision

trial-and-error – n. a finding out of the best way to reach a desired result or a correct solution by trying out one or more ways or means and by noting and eliminating errors or causes of failure

consistent – adj. always acting or behaving in the same way

hassle – v. to bother or annoy (someone) constantly or repeatedly

boundary – n. point or limit that indicates where two things become different

clock out – phrasal verb to record on a special card the time that one stops working

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/04/2049/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/04/2049/VOA Special EnglishTue, 4 Aug 2020 02:17:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Tools Found in Mexico Suggest Earlier Human Arrival in North America]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/0294/

Stone tools found in a Mexican cave suggest people were living in North America as early as 26,500 years ago, much earlier than past research has shown.

Scientists recently reported they had found 1,930 limestone tools in a mountain cave in Mexico's north-central Zacatecas state. The discovery included small flakes and fine blades that may have been used for cutting meat. Small points were also found that could have been used as spear tips for hunting.

Ciprian Ardelean is an archeologist at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas. He is the lead writer of a study on the findings that appeared in the publication Nature. Ardelean told the Reuters news agency the tools were between 31,000 and 12,500 years old. Traveling groups of hunter-gatherers lived in the area off and on for thousands of years.

Ardelean said it is possible some of the objects were even older than 30,000 years. But so far, the evidence is not strong enough to support that claim. Also, his team was unable to recover any human genetic material from the cave. "The peopling of America was a … complex and diverse process," he told Reuters about the findings.

Tom Dillehay is a professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He was not involved in the study. He told The Associated Press that currently, the most widely accepted dates for the earliest known humans in North American are between 15,000 and 17,000 years ago.

A prehistoric stone tool found at a cave in Zacatecas in central Mexico is seen in this image released on July 22, 2020.
A prehistoric stone tool found at a cave in Zacatecas in central Mexico is seen in this image released on July 22, 2020.

Dillehay said the proposed date for the objects may be correct if further studies can confirm the results. However, he said he thinks they are probably not more than 20,000 years old, and most likely are between 15,000 and 18,000 years old. Dillehay does not question that some of the objects are probably man-made. But he said he would like to see further evidence of human use of the cave, such as cut bones and burned, plant-based food remains.

Ruth Gruhn is a professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. In a Nature commentary, she said the results should bring new consideration to six Brazilian sites proposed to be older than 20,000 years. Those age estimates are now "commonly disputed or simply ignored by most archaeologists as being much too old to be real," Gruhn wrote.

Another study is also providing new evidence that modern humans may have arrived in North America much sooner. That study centered on evidence of human presence at 42 sites around North America, as well as the position of a land bridge that connected Siberia to Alaska.

The research, also reported in Nature, suggests humans may date back to at least a time known as the Last Glacial Maximum. During that period - from about 26,000 to 19,000 years ago and immediately thereafter - thick ice covered much of the continent.

The second study also pointed to humans as the cause of extinctions of many large Ice Age animals such as mammoths and camels.

I'm Pete Musto.

Pete Musto adapted this story for VOA Learning English using materials from the Reuters news agency and Associate Press. Bryan Lynn was the editor.

Words in This Story

flake(s) – n. a small, thin piece of something

blade(s) – n. the flat sharp part of a weapon or tool that is used for cutting

spearn. a weapon that has a long straight handle and a sharp point

archeologistn. a person who studies past human life and activities by studying the bones and tools of ancient people

diverseadj. made up of people or things that are different from each other

anthropologyn. the study of human races, origins, societies, and cultures

extinction(s) – n. the state or situation that results when something, such as a plant or animal species, has died out completely

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/0294/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/0294/VOA Special EnglishSun, 2 Aug 2020 23:26:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Helping People One Bike at a Time]]>Anna Matteo如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/5206/

A year after he died at the age of 17, a young man's love of helping others lives on. Through a foundation established by his parents, Benjamin Canlas is still making the world a better place — one bike at a time.

The Benjamin Canlas Courage to be Kind Foundation gives away mountain bikes to Filipinos who are struggling to hold on to jobs. The Philippines has been hit hard by COVID-19.

Benjamin Canlas Courage to be Kind Foundation founder Dr. George Canlas (left) watches as one of the winners pushes a bicycle during the award ceremony in Manila, Philippines, July 11, 2020.
Benjamin Canlas Courage to be Kind Foundation founder Dr. George Canlas (left) watches as one of the winners pushes a bicycle during the award ceremony in Manila, Philippines, July 11, 2020.

Dr. Glennda Canlas and her husband, Dr. George Canlas, created the foundation to honor their son and his kindness. One time, Benjamin saw a food seller riding an old bicycle. Its pedals were missing. To help, Benjamin used his own money that he had saved to fix the food seller's bike.

After their son's death, his parents saw a way to connect private donors with those in need. In this way, they could honor their son.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Benjamin's mother said, "There is so much need out there. But people are willing to help. You just have to put them together."

In the Philippines, many businesses have been closed and many jobs have been lost as a result of the coronavirus crisis. This has left thousands of Filipinos struggling to have enough money to survive. Many have had to take odd jobs. These are small jobs that are often done in someone's home, such as cleaning or repairing things. And that means traveling from one place to another.

However, public transportation has been severely restricted by the coronavirus. So many people must walk for hours in the sun or rain to get to these jobs.

Benjamin's parents had the idea to give away bikes to deserving individuals nominated by their friends, family members or coworkers.

When the giveaway contest was announced on social media, they did not know how much interest there would be. At first, their plan was to give away seven bicycles. But then they received more than 50 nominations. All of them were then checked for truthfulness.

And then on July 11, 27 people were awarded bicycles. These bicycles are meant to help make their lives a little easier.

Winners of the Benjamin Canlas Courage to be Kind Foundation get their bicycles in the financial district of Manila, Philippines, July 11, 2020.
Winners of the Benjamin Canlas Courage to be Kind Foundation get their bicycles in the financial district of Manila, Philippines, July 11, 2020.

Among the winners is 25-year old Ronaldo del Rosario Jr. He lost his job at a fast food restaurant due to the coronavirus lockdown.

To support his wife and young baby, he borrowed a bicycle. He sold rice cakes in the morning and smoked fish in the afternoon, traveling many kilometers each day. This caused the borrowed bike to break often. So, he often lost valuable time and earnings on repairs.

Mharygrace Ortega is del Rosario's partner. Ortega nominated del Rosario because the wheels on the borrowed bicycle were always breaking down from working so hard.

At first, del Rosario could not believe that he was getting a new bike.

"A bike," he said, "isn't just a simple thing." He explained that a bike supports his life. A bike is his partner in his work every day.

Del Rosario added that when he lost his fast food job, he also lost the usual daily routine that came with it. His new bicycle has helped him to get used to his new work, which has him traveling far every day.

Another new bike owner is Liezel Camilla. Camilla is 24 years old and a mother of a 2-year-old child. When her husband's work was put on hold, she started selling and delivering food on her own.

With tears in her eyes, Camilla said that she is "so happy" that she will not have to walk so far anymore.

A winner, left, of a bicycle from the Benjamin Canlas Courage to be Kind Foundation prepares to ride. Photo taken in the financial district of Manila, Philippines, July 11, 2020.
A winner, left, of a bicycle from the Benjamin Canlas Courage to be Kind Foundation prepares to ride. Photo taken in the financial district of Manila, Philippines, July 11, 2020.

Even as the contest ended, nominations continued to come in. The foundation said there are people still in need and much work needs to be done.

The foundation is working on launching more sustainable projects. The goal is that these projects will help more people while also urging others to be kind and help those in need.

"We live in a world where it still takes courage to be kind," said Dr. Glennda Canlas. Benjamin's mother added that the goal of the foundation is to help create a world where kindness does not require courage – it is simply the thing we all do.

I'm Anna Matteo.

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

Words in This Story

foundation – n. an organization that is created and supported with money that people give in order to do something that helps society

courage – n. the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous

mountain bike – n. a type of bicycle that has a strong frame, thick tires, and straight handlebars and that is used for riding over rough ground

donor – n. a person or group that gives something (such as money, food, or clothes) in order to help a person or organization

contest – n. an event in which people try to win by doing something better than others

check – v. to look at (something) carefully to find mistakes, problems, etc., or to make sure there is nothing wrong with it

lockdown – n. a security measure taken during an emergency to prevent people from leaving or entering a building or other location:

routine – n. a regular way of doing things in a particular order

sustainable – adj. able to last or continue for a long time

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/5206/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/5206/VOA Special EnglishSun, 2 Aug 2020 23:23:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Ideas About Face Masks From Around the World]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/7637/

Not since humans invented shoes or underwear has a single item of clothing become so common in such a short amount of time. From Melbourne to Mexico City, Beijing to Bordeaux, many people can be seen wearing this piece of clothing: the face mask.

But rarely, maybe never, has anything else worn by humans created such widespread debate.

Jeremy Howard is the co-founder of #Masks4All, a group supporting face mask use for everyone. Speaking recently about masks, Howard said there has probably never been such a quick and "dramatic" change in worldwide human behavior.

Yet not everyone is accepting of this safety measure, which health officials say is aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus. Plenty of people do not like being told what to do. Many also do not trust scientific evidence suggesting that masks can be an effective way to reduce new infections.

Paul Tomo poses for a photo in front of a souvenir stand in Westminster in London, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. 'Two things, if we really needed them why weren't they introduced in the beginning,' he said.
Paul Tomo poses for a photo in front of a souvenir stand in Westminster in London, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. 'Two things, if we really needed them why weren't they introduced in the beginning,' he said.

At demonstrations in the United States, Canada and Britain, people have criticized face masks. At one recent protest in London, a person argued against mask-wearing requirements in stores, saying: "People die every year. This is nothing new."

Mohammed al-Burji, a 42-year-old government worker in Lebanon, shared his thoughts on wearing masks with The Associated Press. He said he walks to work without a mask and does not worry. "There is no coronavirus, brother. They're just deceiving people."

As of July 24, Lebanon had reported over 3,400 coronavirus infections and 46 deaths. Officials have made public appeals for people to keep wearing masks and to practice social distancing.

In Mexico City, Estima Mendoza says she feels shock and fear when seeing people not wearing masks. "I feel defenseless. On one hand I judge them, and on the other I ask myself 'Why?" Mendoza said. "As human beings, we always judge."

In France, masks resulted in an unexpected benefit for Maria Dabo. She no longer feels so different in a country that has made laws to prevent Muslim women from wearing face coverings.

"I feel like we are a bit better understood," Dabo said. "Everyone is obliged to do the same as us, which makes me believe that God is busy teaching people a lesson, that covering up isn't religious or anything else. It's about not being a fool and protecting oneself."

Kalsang Chokteng, an in exile Tibetan, poses for a photograph in Dharmsala, India, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Kalsang says that people who do not want to wear masks are selfish and should think of the impact of their careless action on others.
Kalsang Chokteng, an in exile Tibetan, poses for a photograph in Dharmsala, India, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Kalsang says that people who do not want to wear masks are selfish and should think of the impact of their careless action on others.
Israeli Arab Rana Hijazi,19, poses for a portrait wearing her protective face mask in the alleys of Jerusalem's old city, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Hijazi says 'she advice all people to wear face masks because it is very important for their health.
Israeli Arab Rana Hijazi,19, poses for a portrait wearing her protective face mask in the alleys of Jerusalem's old city, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Hijazi says 'she advice all people to wear face masks because it is very important for their health.

Masks can even divide families. Yu Jungyul, a child-health worker in Seoul, South Korea, says she has to ask her husband to wear one often. She says she tells him: "'We have to wear masks for other people now, rather than only for ourselves.'"

Shopping with her young children, French museum worker Celine Brunet-Moret said she misses not being able to see emotions on people's faces.

"You don't see people smiling or if they are OK or not," Brunet-Moret said. "It's not the same life and it's not the normal life," she added. "So I'm thinking that we'll never get used to it..."

But across the street from the shop where Brunet-Moret was buying cheese, Laure Estiez said that going out without one of her home-made masks now feels "almost unnatural." She says every morning she goes through a process of picking colors to match her mood and clothing. She says this daily activity has become "a pleasure."

"We have a very strong capacity for adaptation," she said. "You get used to everything."

I'm John Russell.

John Leicester wrote this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Bryan Lynn was the editor.

Words in This Story

mask – n. a covering used to protect your face or cover your mouth

dramatic – adj. sudden and extreme

deceive – v. to make (someone) believe something that is not true

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

oblige – v. to force or require (someone or something) to do something because of a law or rule or because it is necessary

mood n. the way someone feels : a person's emotional state

capacity – n. the ability to do something : a mental, emotional, or physical ability​

adaptation – n. a change in a plant or animal that makes it better able to live in a particular place or situation; the process of changing to fit some purpose or situation : the process of adapting

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/7637/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/7637/VOA Special EnglishSun, 2 Aug 2020 23:23:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Scientists Study Chernobyl Fungus as Protection against Space Radiation]]>Bryan Lynn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/2020/08/03/6163/

Researchers are testing a fungus known to grow in high radiation environments to see if it could possibly protect humans traveling in space.

One fungus being studied survived – even thrived – in areas around the former Chernobyl nuclear power center in Ukraine. In 1986, a reactor there exploded and caught fire, sending huge amounts of radiation into the air.

Chernobyl was the world's worst nuclear disaster. The accident caused widespread harm to people and other living things in the surrounding area. Several kinds of fungi, however, have continued to experience growth within the highly radioactive environment.

Researchers are studying a substance found within some fungi called melanin. It is a pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their color. Studies have shown that melanin in the cell walls of some fungi can take in radiation and turn it into chemical energy.

Recently, a report about one kind of melanin-containing fungus was published on the internet in "pre-print" form. This means the research has yet to complete a peer review process.

This photo shows the progression of fungus growth measured by the researchers in samples sent to the International Space Station. (Image Credit: BioRxiv)
This photo shows the progression of fungus growth measured by the researchers in samples sent to the International Space Station. (Image Credit: BioRxiv)

The study is a project of scientists from the University of North Carolina and California's Stanford University. The scientists reported that the fungus, called Cladosporium sphaerospermum, was sent to the International Space Station - ISS - for testing.

Earth's atmosphere and magnetic shield protect us from extreme radiation found throughout the universe. But the U.S. space agency NASA notes that while the ISS sits within Earth's magnetic field, astronauts receive over 10 times the radiation that we receive on Earth. It warns that space travelers spending long periods in places like the moon or Mars will face high levels of harmful radiation.

The researchers say the melanin-containing fungus that thrives in Chernobyl could be used to create protective shields for future astronauts.

In the report, the researchers said growth of the fungus on the ISS was observed for 30 days. Radiation levels were also measured. During the test period, the measured radiation levels decreased "by at least 1.82 percent and potentially up to 5.04 percent," the report said.

In this Wednesday, March 23, 2011 photo an engineer Sergei Horloogijn measures a radiation dosage rate, as workers clear the forest near the village of Babchin, near the 30 km exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.
In this Wednesday, March 23, 2011 photo an engineer Sergei Horloogijn measures a radiation dosage rate, as workers clear the forest near the village of Babchin, near the 30 km exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

The researchers said that the experiment demonstrated "that the fungus not only adapts to, but thrives on and shields against space radiation." They noted that since the fungus reproduces itself in high-radiation environments, small amounts could be transported to space and then grown in large amounts.

Further testing is planned with similar fungi.

Last year, researchers from Johns Hopkins University said they had shipped melanin from a similar fungus, called Cryptococcus neoformans, to the ISS. This fungus lives in environments across the world and was found thriving in the area around Chernobyl.

One of the researchers on that project is Radamés J.B. Cordero, with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Cordero said in a statement that the goal of the ISS research is to see how melanin from the fungus can protect astronauts and equipment in space. But he added that radiation is also a big concern for health care providers and patients who are exposed to the material during medical treatments.

"If you have a material that can act as a shield against radiation, it could not only protect people and structures in space, but also have very real benefits for people here on Earth,' he said.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from BioRxiv, Johns Hopkins University and the CDC. George Grow was the editor.

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

Quiz - Scientists Study Chernobyl Fungus as Protection against Space Radiation

Start the Quiz to find out

Start Quiz

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

Words in This Story

fungus – n. a type of plant without leaves that gets its food from other living or decaying things

thrive – v. to grow very well

pigment – n. a substance that gives something color

peer – adj. someone holding the same position or social standing as other member of a group

review n. the process of considering something to decide whether to make changes to it

shield – n. something used as protection against harmful things

potential – adj. having the possibility to do something

adapt v. to change behavior to fit a new situation

expose – v. subject to risk from a harmful action or condition

benefit – n. something that helps you or gives you an advantage

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/6163/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/6163/VOA Special EnglishSun, 2 Aug 2020 23:22:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Largest Public University in US Requires Ethnic Studies]]>Alice Bryant如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/4712/

California State University has approved a vote requiring all students to take an ethnic and social justice studies class in order to graduate.

The decision came in late July from the largest public university system in the United States, commonly known as Cal State.

The change is set to take effect in three years. The decision comes in the middle of a national reckoning over systemic racism and police abuse. It represents the first change to the school's general education program in more than 40 years.

The state Legislature is also considering a bill to require ethnic studies. However, it would not include social justice classes. If passed and signed by California's governor, the measure would overrule the action by California State University. School leaders have denounced this possibility, saying it would interfere with university decision-making.

State lawmakers still have to examine small changes to the bill before it could be sent to Governor Gavin Newsom.

The plan approved by California State University lets students choose from different ethnic studies subjects to meet the requirement. Cal State's selection is wider than the state bill.

Students at Cal State, for example, can take social justice courses that explore such issues as the criminal justice system and public health inequities.

Chancellor Timothy White is among the leadership at Cal State. Before voting in favor of the class requirement, he said, "It's grounded in ethnic studies, but it is broader, more inclusive, gives students choice."

Lawmaker Shirley Weber is a San Diego Democrat and former professor. She wrote the Legislature's bill. The university's trustees and state lawmakers agree on the need for more ethnic studies. But Weber and supporters of her proposal say permitting social justice classes makes the university's plan weaker.

FILE - In this June 10, 2020 file photo Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, talks at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
FILE - In this June 10, 2020 file photo Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, talks at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

"This is not a requirement for ethnic studies," trustee Silas Abrego said before the vote. He was one of the few members to vote against the Cal State plan. Instead, he favors Weber's bill.

He said the ethnic studies professors were not included in discussions about the proposal.

Weber's bill would take effect in the 2021-2022 school year. It would require students to take a class centered on Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans or Latina and Latino Americans.

The university's proposal would take effect in the 2023-2024 school year. The university's plan would cost $3 million to $4 million, while the state bill is estimated to need $16 million.

Tony Thurmond a top official for public education in the state. He is also on the Cal State University board. He voted against the university's proposal. He spoke in favor of the state bill's method that centered on the four ethnic studies subjects.

Weber, who leads the Legislative Black Caucus, has written that her bill was needed because the university was too slow to act. It announced ethnic studies plans almost five years ago.

Weber noted that the California Faculty Association, a labor union, supports her bill. The group represents 29,000 professors at California State University. It has said the aim should be teaching students about the experiences of minorities and people of color in the United States.

Trustee Lateefah Simon called the school's proposal thoughtful and detailed, but she voted against it. She said its "social justice umbrella" plan might cause students to miss out on ethnic studies education.

I'm Alice Bryant.

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

Words in This Story

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

reckoning – n. the time when your actions are judged as good or bad and you are rewarded or punished

chancellor – n. the head of some U.S. universities

broad – adj. including or involving many things or people

trustee – n. a member of a group that manages the money of an organization

board – n. a group of people who manage or direct a company or organization

caucus – n. a group of people who meet to discuss a particular issue or to work together for a shared, usually political goal

umbrella – n. something that includes several or many different things

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/4712/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/03/4712/VOA Special EnglishSun, 2 Aug 2020 23:22:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Colleges Have a Mix of Plans for Coronavirus Testing]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/02/1738/

For students going to Colby College in Maine next month, coronavirus testing is expected to be a normal part of campus life.

Colby will require all students to take a coronavirus test every other day for two weeks, and then two tests a week after that. The college says it will provide up to 85,000 tests over the next four months. That is nearly as many as the entire state of Maine has provided since the health crisis started.

Colby is a private college of 2,000 students. It joins a growing number of colleges and universities in the United States announcing aggressive testing plans to identify COVID-19 cases before they spread. Harvard University says all students living on its campus will be tested when they arrive and then three times a week. Boston University plans to test most students at least once a week.

But whether schools should be testing every student — and whether they actually have the ability to do so — is a subject of debate. Some colleges plan to test students only if they show signs of the virus or come in close contact with someone who has tested positive. But some researchers say that plan could quickly lead to infections caused by students who show no signs of the disease.

As universities hurry to make plans for virus testing, U.S. federal officials are warning that they could overload laboratories that process tests for hospitals. In a call with governors, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said too many colleges are agreeing to deals with private laboratories. This threatens to "jam up" the system, he said.

Instead, Azar said colleges should develop testing operations in their own laboratories, especially at big research universities.

College officials have been announcing testing plans as they work to ease concerns that they can reopen safely. For some, it is partly meant to show that officials will spend whatever it takes to keep their campuses protected.

Doug Terp is vice president for administration and chief financial officer at Colby College. He told The Associated Press that Colby's testing plan will cost an estimated $5 million.

"It's first and foremost to provide a safe environment. But truthfully, it's also to give all of us comfort, to give our local community comfort, and to give our students and families comfort," Terp said.

Lena Landaverde, assistant director of the Precision Diagnostics Center, heads to the new COVID-19, on-campus testing labs after donning personal protective equipment, Thursday, July 23, 2020, at Boston University in Boston.
Lena Landaverde, assistant director of the Precision Diagnostics Center, heads to the new COVID-19, on-campus testing labs after donning personal protective equipment, Thursday, July 23, 2020, at Boston University in Boston.

But at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, officials question the value of such a plan. They argue that testing every student could "create a false sense of security." Instead, the university plans to test students who show signs of the coronavirus or come into contact with it, and those in high-risk groups.

Virus testing is just one of many safety measures colleges are planning as they look to reopen. Many plan to reduce class sizes, limit the numbers of students living in on-campus housing, require face coverings and ban large gatherings. By testing, colleges hope to identify sick students and separate them from healthy ones to prevent the spread of the virus.

For months, college and university leaders have argued that testing is extremely important to a safe reopening next month. But with limited guidance from federal officials, colleges have created a mix of plans based on advice from state agencies and on research from their own health experts.

The Texas A&M University system recently announced that it will divide 15,000 tests among its campuses each month. The tests will only be given to those who show symptoms or come into contact with known cases. Harvey Mudd College near Los Angeles and Macalester College in Minnesota have similar plans.

Some universities plan to test students when they arrive. But after those tests, they plan to target students with symptoms. Other schools say they will test random samples of students, while some plan to test all students at some point in time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges against widespread testing. It says colleges should mainly test students with symptoms. The CDC says broader testing should be considered only in areas with higher virus transmission rates.

But researchers warn that depending on symptoms alone will not be enough. They say many young people carry the virus but never feel sick. Without recognizing those cases, they say, the virus could quickly spread out of control.

Recently, a Cornell University research team found that students would need to be tested every seven days to keep infections down. A separate study from Yale University and the Harvard Medical School suggested that testing only once a week could lead to thousands of infections over a college term.

The risk that students could arrive on campus carrying the virus without knowing it is of special concern to college and university officials. Some are asking students to get tested before they arrive. Ithaca College in New York recently announced plans to bar students from more than 20 states with higher virus rates.

Even with testing, several colleges have already seen infections spread among sports team members and other students who returned to campus this summer. The University of North Carolina suspended training for its football team this month after 37 players and other people with links to the team tested positive.

I'm Pete Musto.

Collin Binkley reported on this story for The Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Quiz - US Colleges Have a Mix of Plans for Coronavirus Testing

Start the Quiz to find out

Start Quiz

Words in This Story

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

positiveadj. showing the presence of a particular germ, condition, or substance

overloadv. to cause something to be used for too many things at the same time

jam upp.v. to cause something to stop working correctly

comfortn. a state or feeling of being less worried, upset, or frightened during a time of trouble or emotional pain

symptom(s) – n. a change in the body or mind which indicates that a disease is present

randomadj. chosen or done without a particular plan or pattern

sample(s) – n. a small amount of something that gives you information about the thing it was taken from

transmissionn. the act or process by which something is spread or passed from one person or thing to another

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/02/1738/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/02/1738/VOA Special EnglishSun, 2 Aug 2020 06:27:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Good Winter Leads to Large Numbers of Chipmunks in US]]>Bryan Lynn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/2020/08/02/2477/

Plenty of acorns -- the fruit of the oak tree -- has led to rising numbers of chipmunks in the Northeast United States.

A large supply of acorns on the ground last winter provided food for chipmunks across New England as spring returned. Acorns and other nuts are a main part of the animal's diet. They also eat insects, berries, and other kinds of fruit.

The plentiful food supply kept the chipmunks well fed as they got busy reproducing and having families this spring. Now, the growth in the chipmunk population is causing problems in some areas, with people saying the animals are driving them nuts.

Shevenell Webb is a biologist with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in the state of Maine. She told The Associated Press (AP) that while chipmunks are often entertaining, they can be destructive.

The animals burrow through the ground, making holes and passageways. This can lead to the destruction of grass, flowers and other plant life, Webb said.

She added that chipmunks can be "cute" and "fun to watch in the forest" as they move in and out of holes like playful children. When their mouths are not full of nuts, chipmunks make an interesting "chip" sound, Webb said.

Steven Parren is a wildlife program official with the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. He told the AP he cannot grow flowers on his own property without chipmunks digging them up. "They don't even pause," he noted.

There were so many acorns in one area, Parren said, that there was no way the animals could have put them all away for winter. In addition to chipmunks, he says he is also seeing more squirrels, rabbits and different kinds of mice this year.

Experts say people should not be too concerned about the summer's larger population of chipmunks. They note while small animal populations can sometimes explode – growing quickly, they usually return to normal.

Chipmunks can be food for other creatures. They are easy targets for owls, hawks, snakes, foxes, and raccoons. But even if they survive such attacks, Webb said individual chipmunks usually only live about three years.

Many New Englanders remember a similar rise in the area's squirrel population in 2018.

Webb said that increase led to a memorable number of road kills. "We've never seen anything like that. That was a once in a lifetime event."

I'm Bryan Lynn.

The Associated Press reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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

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

Words in This Story

nuts – n. the dry fruit of some trees that grows in a shell

drive someone nuts – idiom. to make someone upset or annoyed

entertain – v. to perform for (an audience) : to provide amusement for (someone) by singing, acting, etc

cute adj. pleasant and attractive

pause – v. stop doing something for a short time

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/02/2477/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/02/2477/VOA Special EnglishSat, 1 Aug 2020 23:28:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Coronavirus Crisis Creates Fear, Doubt Among Arab Youth]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/02/2420/

Sama al-Diwani and her college sweetheart had big dreams.

Her boyfriend, Athir Assem, was planning to open a business in Iraq. She was preparing to go to England, where she would spend a year in training so that she could work as a pharmacist. After that, they would reunite, get married and start a family.

Those dreams came to a stop with the coronavirus health crisis. Al-Diwani's university education is now on hold. Her family's earnings have gone down by 40% and she worries about losing her job at a local pharmacy.

Assem has delayed plans for launching his business. He wanted to sell baked goods.

Al-Diwani, 24, and Assem, 26, are among millions of young people whose plans for work, education, and marriage have been changed by the pandemic. Such unrest is common in many areas, but the sense of hopelessness is a big concern in the Middle East. There, war, displacement and disease have left a generation feeling helpless and bitter.

In Western countries, many unemployed workers believe they will get their jobs back or somehow recover from the recession. But in some Arab countries, the pandemic seems like the final blow to economies that are now close to collapse.

Before the pandemic, in 2019, youth unemployment in the Arab world was estimated at 26.4%, compared to a rate of 13.6 percent worldwide. Those estimates come from the International Labor Organization.

This week, a United Nations report predicted that some Arab economies could shrink by up to 13% this year. Another 14.3 million people are expected to go into poverty, raising the total number to 115 million. That would represent about one-fourth of the total Arab population.

Tariq Haq is a Beirut-based senior employment specialist with the U.N. labor agency.

"For many young people, seeing economies crumble the way that they are and seeing their prospects vanish before their eyes ... it's undoubtedly going to be taking a huge toll on mental health and well-being," Haq said.

Across Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, serious economic problems threaten to push the area into extreme poverty and unrest. Lebanon and Syria's currencies have crashed. In Iraq, where more than 60% of the population is under 25, a large drop in earnings from oil sales hurt the country's budget.

Millions of young people are looking to leave the Middle East.

Before the cornoavirus spread around the world, al-Diwani had begun preparing her paperwork and request for a visa.

"It was my dream to finish studying and get married to the man I love," al-Diwani said.

Then the coronavirus hit.

The university suspended her acceptance as a student. She worries about losing her place and never feeling safe enough to travel again. Assem estimates his losses from delays in the bakery project, which was supposed to open in May, at around $10,000.

Working at the pharmacy in Baghdad's Karrada district, al-Diwani meets people suspected of being infected with the virus every day. She returns home frightened and worried that she might be carrying the infection back to her family.

"Corona destroyed me and my dreams and future in a very unexpected way," she said. "Now the future is unknown, and I cannot think how we can come back from this."

I'm John Russell.

Zeina Karam and Qassim Abdul-Zahra reported this story for The Associated Press. John Russell adapted the report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

pharmacist – n. someone trained to prepare doctors' orders of medicines, administer vaccines, and advise patients on the use of drugs

bake – v. to cook by dry heat

pandemic – n. an infectious disease that spreads across a large area

crumble – v. to fall apart

prospect – n. the possibility that something will happen in the future

vanish – v. to stop existing

toll – n. to have a serious, bad effect on someone or something; to cause harm or damage

currency – n. a system of money in general use in a country or area

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/02/2420/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/02/2420/VOA Special EnglishSat, 1 Aug 2020 23:28:00 UTC
<![CDATA[More Seals off US Northeast Means Learning to Live with Sharks]]>Bryan Lynn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/2020/08/02/9916/

Wildlife experts say a healthy seal population along the Northeast coast of the United States will likely lead to more shark attacks on humans.

Seals are top targets for large sharks such as the great white. The seals are currently doing well in areas of the Northeast thanks to years of protective efforts.

But in recent years, there have been more attacks on humans. Experts say the sharks mistook people for seals.

The latest attack happened on July 27, off the coast of Maine, when a woman swimmer was killed by a great white shark. It was the first recorded deadly shark attack in the state's history. The attack on 63-year-old Julie Dimperio Holowach happened off Harpswell, Maine, about 9 to 12 meters from land.

Swimmers in New England states have learned to be more careful in recent years as more great whites have been seen along coastal areas.

A member of a TV crew adjusts their camera while filming near the shore of Bailey Island, Maine, where a woman swimming off the coast was killed in an apparent shark attack Monday, July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Jim Gerberich)
A member of a TV crew adjusts their camera while filming near the shore of Bailey Island, Maine, where a woman swimming off the coast was killed in an apparent shark attack Monday, July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Jim Gerberich)

A 2018 attack that killed a man in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, was also believed to be a great white shark. It was the first deadly shark attack to happen in Massachusetts in more than 80 years.

The deadly creatures are not "mad or angry or preferring human flesh," said Greg Skomal, a shark specialist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. Instead, Skomal told The Associated Press, "They just occasionally make a mistake. And it's tragic when they do."

Incidents of shark bites remain extremely rare, especially in Northeastern waters. The International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida lists only 10 unprovoked shark attacks off New England, records dating back to 1837 show. The majority of documented shark attacks in the U.S. happen off Florida.

Internationally, warm weather countries such as South Africa and Australia have higher totals. But shark bites are rare in those places, too. Australia has recorded 652 unprovoked shark attacks going back to 1580, the International Shark Attack File states.

Shark bites in colder northern waters do happen, but they are rare. A small number of attacks have been recorded off Russia, Finland and Washington state in the U.S.

A seal pokes his head out of the water in Casco Bay, Thursday, July 30, 2020, off Portland, Maine. Seals are thriving off the northeast coast thanks to decades of protections.
A seal pokes his head out of the water in Casco Bay, Thursday, July 30, 2020, off Portland, Maine. Seals are thriving off the northeast coast thanks to decades of protections.

Researchers are seeing more great whites off New England, said James Sulikowski. He is an expert on Northeastern sharks based at Arizona State University.

The greater number of sightings is "unequivocally" because of the healthier seal population off New England, Sulikowski said. The seal comeback started with the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

Grey seals – once hunted to the point of disappearing completely – are now common on Cape Cod.

The sharks are not looking for people, but they are a reason for swimmers to be cautious, Sulikowski said. However, as sharks continue to hunt seals for food, the likelihood increases that they will instead find humans, he added.

In Maine, ocean officers are carrying out searches for sharks following the deadly attack. The state has restricted swimming at some state parks. It also has sent a clear message to beachgoers: if you see seals, stay away.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

The Associate Press reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. 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

prefer – v. to like one thing better than something else

occasionally – adv. sometimes but not often

unprovoked – adj. happening without a reason or apparent cause

unequivocal adj. without doubt, very clearly the case

cautious adj. careful about avoiding danger

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/02/9916/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/02/9916/VOA Special EnglishSat, 1 Aug 2020 23:28:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Companies Fear Risk of Airborne Virus in the Office]]>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/2020/08/01/1306/

Some companies in the United States want to know how they can make their workplaces safer. Industry healthcare experts say companies are worried because of information from the world's top public health agency.

About two weeks ago, the World Health Organization called for more scientific study of the airborne transmission of the new coronavirus. It is the cause of the disease COVID-19. Experts say if the virus can stay in the air for long periods of time it raises safety questions for people in offices, stores, and other workplaces. The possibility that the virus can spread through the air in this way has not been included in U.S. government rules for returning to work.

Many companies have created rules based on information from the WHO that says drops of fluid with the virus could infect people after they landed on surfaces. Now, there are questions about whether the virus can survive in very small drops that stay in the air for hours.

Companies are wondering whether their policies on face covering and improving air flow are good enough. Some stores have put in glass barriers between employees and customers. Now experts say they must decide what to do if the virus can stay in the air around their employees.

Neal Mills is the chief medical officer at healthcare services group Aon. He began receiving questions recently about the WHO's decision to investigate airborne transmission. He said employers were slowing the return of workers back to their offices.

"They are doing due diligence around how are you going to reduce the transmission of the virus," if it is airborne, Mills said.

FILE - Workers wearing protective masks stand at an entrance to a Boeing production plant to hand out masks to other workers entering Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Everett, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
FILE - Workers wearing protective masks stand at an entrance to a Boeing production plant to hand out masks to other workers entering Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Everett, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The slowdown comes as some employers have already begun delaying plans to bring back office workers because of the rising number of coronavirus cases. Energy industry companies Halliburton in Texas and California-based Chevron are among them.

Employers are asking if public health guidelines asking that individuals remain about two meters apart and wear masks are enough.

They also wonder about air cooling systems that do not have filtration devices and the effectiveness of the glass barriers against an airborne virus, said David Zieg. Zieg is an expert at Mercer, a healthcare services company.

Experts are telling employers to go beyond their existing plans. Plans may include measuring people's body temperature, asking health questions and cleaning restrooms more often.

"The concept here is risk reduction. It's not 100 percent. You add in all the little things you can to reduce the risk," Zieg said.

Months after U.S. companies sent workers home, many are trying to understand the best way to bring them back. Many employers are worried about their legal responsibility and the cost of employee healthcare plans.

Some companies understood the possibility of airborne transmission early.

Automakers General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler improved ventilation in their factories before restarting production on May 18. The companies said they were worried about airborne transmission.

I'm Susan Shand.

The Reuters News Agency reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

airborne–adj. moving in or carried through the air

transmission–n. the process of sending something from one place to another or between people

due diligence–n.(legal) the care that a reasonable person takes to avoid harm to others or their property

filtration–n. the process of removing pollutants from the air or water

ventilation–n. a system that lets fresh air flow through a building

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/1306/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/1306/VOA Special EnglishFri, 31 Jul 2020 22:54:00 UTC
<![CDATA[New Yorkers Leaving City for More Living Space]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/6512/

People living in New York City are fearful after facing the worst of the coronavirus health crisis. This fear is fueling a sudden increase in home sales and rentals around the small towns and wooded hills to the city's north.

Anil and Joyce Lilly will not be staying in their Bronx apartment much longer. They just bought a house north of New York in the Hudson Valley. It takes about an hour to reach from the city.

"We were locked into the apartment for three months, a solid three months," Joyce Lilly told the Associated Press, explaining their move to Washingtonville, New York.

"I feel like I'm getting out of prison and I want to run as far away as possible," she said.

Property sellers describe an active market recently, with many house hunters able to work from home. Steven Domber is president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties. He said a large number of the home buyers are coming from Manhattan, in the heart of the city. Many of them are experiencing "cabin fever, which is wanting to get out of an apartment and having some land if…there's a lockdown again," he said.

The Catskill Mountains and parts of the valley north of the city have been longtime vacation spots for New Yorkers. But agents say sales and rental activity is far above normal. Domber said his June sales were up about 30 percent compared to the same month last year. Home builder Chuck Petersheim said he took eight orders in one month, compared to his usual one-and-a-half each month.

But New York City is in no danger of losing a lot of people any time soon. The movement north only represents a small part of the city's population of 8.3 million.

New homes in the area cost from under $200,000 to more than $1 million. They are an escape many people cannot afford. But the increase in sales and long-term rentals suggests many New Yorkers see the city as less livable.

Joyce Lilly moves a filing cabinet as her dog Max follows, Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in the Riverdale neighborhood of The Bronx, in New York.
Joyce Lilly moves a filing cabinet as her dog Max follows, Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in the Riverdale neighborhood of The Bronx, in New York.

Susan Cohen rented a home in Rhinebeck, New York with her husband after sheltering in their Upper East Side apartment.

She said: "For six weeks in our two-bedroom apartment, all we talked about was without a vaccine, we will never go on the subway again…we won't go to the movies, we won't go to the theater...And we said, 'What are we living here for?'"

County-level home sales numbers from May and June still show a decrease compared to last year. But agents say those numbers are the result of delays of one to three months between offers being accepted and closings on home sales.

Agents have described recent bidding wars over homes that had been on the market for some time and new listings being bought quickly by buyers with cash. Realtor John Murphy said some homes are selling for $100,000 or more above their asking prices.

Home hunters Tony Speciale and Jerry Marsini learned about competition recently when they walked through the front door of a home in Kingston, New York. At that same moment, their agent got a message from the seller about a cash offer from someone else.

"If we find a house that we're interested in, sitting on it more than a few days doesn't seem like a good idea," Speciale said.

The Hudson Valley is not the only area outside New York City experiencing an increase in home buying.

Along the New Jersey Shore, there are far more buyers than homes in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Wendy Smith noted homes are selling above the asking price and "once a thing comes on the market everyone is jumping on it." She is president of Monmouth Ocean Regional Realtors.

Extremely low lending rates from banks are helping the market. Work-from-home policies resulting from the health crisis also help people to decide to move from the city.

Joyce Lilly said her husband's ability to work at a distance as an information technology supervisor helped them to decide to move from Riverdale in the Bronx on Tuesday. Susan Cohen just retired in January and her husband is able to work as a financial technology advisor from home.

I'm Pete Musto.

Michael Hill reported on this story for the Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

rental –n. a property, apartment or home, in which a person can live by paying the owner regular payments

apartment –n. a room or group of rooms in a building that is used as a place to live

lockdown –n. when people are forced to stay in their homes for emergency reasons

afford –v. to be able to pay for something

county –n. an area of a state that has its own government to deal with local matters

bidding –n. the process of making a competitive offer of money to buy something and which others can compete by offering more money

cash – n. money in the form of coins or bills or their equivalent

price(s) - n. the amount of money that you pay for something or that something costs

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/6512/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/6512/VOA Special EnglishFri, 31 Jul 2020 22:54:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Scientists Solve Mystery About Stonehenge]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/7636/

British scientists say they have solved a mystery involving Stonehenge, the world-famous stone monument in Wiltshire, England.

The scientists reported this week that they have identified where many of Stonehenge's large stones, called megaliths, came from. Thousands of years ago, people used such stones to build markers, monuments and other structures.

The researchers said part of one megalith helped solve the mystery. The small piece of stone had been kept in the United States for over 40 years.

Chemical testing suggests that most of Stonehenge's megaliths, known as sarsens, came from an area called West Woods. It is about 25 kilometers away from the ancient monument, the researchers said on Wednesday.

People set up the sarsens at Stonehenge over 4,000 years ago. The largest sarsen is 9.1 meters tall. The heaviest weighs about 30 tons.

David Nash of the University of Brighton led the study, which was published in the journal Science Advances.

Nash said that researchers still do not know how people moved the stones to Stonehenge. "Given the size of the stones, they must have either been dragged or moved on rollers," he said. Nash added, "We don't know the exact route but at least we now have a starting point and an endpoint."

Stonehenge also has smaller stones, called bluestones. Experts believe these stones came from Pembrokeshire in Wales, around 250 kilometers away.

A sarsen core sample, taken during repair work in the late 1950s, gave important information about Stonehenge's origins. The core sample was given to a man named Robert Phillips. Phillips worked for the company that was repairing the monument.

Phillips took the sample with permission when he moved to the United States in 1977, Nash said. Phillips returned it to Britain for research in 2018. He died this year.

The researchers studied very small pieces of the sample to find where it came from. It was similar to sandstone found at West Woods and all but two of the Stonehenge sarsens.

Nash said he hopes the finding will help people better understand the hard work that went into building Stonehenge.

I'm John Russell.

John Russell adapted this story from reports by The Associated Press. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

monument n. a building or place that is important because of when it was built or because of something in history that happened there

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

drag – v. to pull (someone or something that is heavy or difficult to move)

roller – n. a part that rolls and is used to move, press, shape, spread, or smooth something

route n. a part that rolls and is used to move, press, shape or spread something

core sample – n. a small part of a larger formation

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/7636/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/7636/VOA Special EnglishFri, 31 Jul 2020 22:52:00 UTC
<![CDATA[AMERICAN STORIES - Transients in Arcadia]]>O. Henry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/2020/08/01/8019/

We present the short story 'Transients in Arcadia,' by O. Henry. The story was originally adapted and recorded by the U.S. Department of State.

There is a certain hotel on Broadway that is very pleasant in the summer. Not many people have heard about it. It is wide and cool. Its rooms have walls of dark wood. There are green trees around it, and soft winds. It has all the pleasures of mountain living, and none of the pains. You will eat better fish there than you could catch for yourself in streams in the hills. You will have better meat than a hunter brings home from the forest.

A few have discovered this cool spot in the hot summer of New York. You will see these few guests, eating dinner in the hotel restaurant. They are happy to be there, and happy to know that they are very few. They feel especially wise because they have found this delightful place.

More waiters than necessary are always near. They bring what is wanted before anyone asks for it.

The pleasing distant noise of Broadway sounds like running water in a forest. At every strange footstep, the guests turn quickly and look. They are afraid that the restless pleasure-seekers will find their hotel and destroy its pleasant quiet.

And so these few live during the hot season. They enjoy the delights of mountain and seashore. All is brought to them in their Broadway hotel.

This summer a lady came to the hotel giving this name: "Madame Héloise D'Arcy Beaumont."

The name was like a name in the story of a great romance. And Madame Beaumont was the kind of lady the Hotel Lotus loved. She was beautiful and her manner was very fine. Everyone wished to serve her. The other guests believed that as a guest she was perfection.

This perfect guest did not often leave the hotel. In this, she was like the other guests of the Hotel Lotus. To enjoy that hotel, one needed to forget the city. New York might have been miles away. At night sometimes one might go out. But during the hot day one remained in the cool shade of the Lotus.

Madame was alone in the Hotel Lotus. She was alone as a queen is alone, because of her high position. She rose from bed late in the morning. She was then a sweet, soft person who seemed to shine quietly.

But at dinner she was different. She would wear a beautiful dress. I cannot find words fine enough to tell about it. Always there were red flowers at her shoulder. When the head waiter saw a dress like this, he met it at the door. You thought of Paris when you saw it, and of the theater and of old romances.

A story about Madame Beaumont was told among the guests in the Hotel Lotus. It was said that she was a woman who had traveled all over the world. It was said that she knew the most important people everywhere. It was said that in her white hands she held the future of certain nations.

It was no surprise, they said, that such a lady should choose the Hotel Lotus. It was the most desirable and the most restful place in America during the heat of summer.

On the third day of Madame Beaumont's stay in the hotel, a young man entered as a guest. His clothes were quiet but good. His face was pleasant. His expression was that of a man who had traveled and could understand the world. He said that he would remain three or four days. He asked about the sailing of certain ships. He seemed to like this hotel the best of all he had known.

The young man put his name on the list of hotel guests: Harold Farrington. It was a name with a fine sound. And the young man belonged perfectly in the quiet life of the Lotus. In one day he became like all the other guests. Like them he had his table and his waiter. He also had the same fear that the wrong people might suddenly discover this hotel and destroy its peace.

After dinner on the next day, Madame Beaumont dropped something as she passed Harold Farrington's table. He picked it up and, following her, returned it. He spoke only a few quiet words as he did this, and she was pleased by his good manners. She knew that he was a gentleman.

Guests of the Lotus seemed to understand each other very easily. Perhaps it was the result of having discovered this Broadway hotel. Guests felt sure that only especially fine people would enjoy the cool delights of the Lotus. Now, very quickly, a sudden friendship grew between Farrington and Madame Beaumont. They stood and talked for a few moments.

"I have seen too much of the usual summer hotels," said Madame Beaumont, with a small but sweet smile. "Why go to the mountains or the seashore? We cannot escape noise and dust there. The people who make noise and dust follow us there."

"Even on the ocean," said Farrington, sadly, "those same people are all around us. What shall we do when they discover the Lotus?"

"I hope they don't discover the Lotus this week," said Madame. "I only know one other place I like as well. It is the beautiful home of a prince in the mountains in Europe."

"The best people," said Farrington, "are seeking for the quiet places, like this one, where they can escape the crowds."

"I promise myself three more days of this delightful rest," said Madame Beaumont. "The next day my ship sails."

Harold Farrington's eyes showed that he was sorry. "I too must leave then," he said. "But I am not sailing for Europe."

"We cannot stay here forever, though it is so delightful," said Madame Beaumont. "I like it better than my usual life, which is too full of people. I shall never forget my week in the Hotel Lotus."

"Nor shall I," said Farrington in a low voice. "And I shall never like the ship that carries you away."

On their last evening the two sat together at a little table. A waiter brought them something cool to eat.

Madame Beaumont was wearing the same beautiful dress. She seemed thoughtful. When she had finished eating, she took out a dollar.

"Mr. Farrington," she said, with the smile that everyone in the Lotus loved, "I want to tell you something. I'm going to leave early tomorrow morning because I must go back to work. I work selling women's clothes at Casey's shop. That dollar is all the money I have. I won't have any more until I get paid at the end of the week. You're a real gentleman and you've been good to me. I wanted to tell you before I went.

"For a year I've been planning to come here. Each week I put aside a little of my pay, so that I would have enough money. I wanted to live one week like a rich lady. I wanted to get up in the morning when I wished. I wanted to be served by waiters. I wanted to have the best of everything. Now I've done it, and I've been happier than I ever was before. And now I'm going back to work.

"I—I wanted to tell you about it, Mr. Farrington, because I—I thought you liked me, and I—I liked you. This week I've told you many things that weren't true. I told you things I've read about. They never happened to me. I've been living in a story. It wasn't real. I wanted you to think I was a great lady.

"This dress I'm wearing—it's the only pretty dress I own. I haven't paid for it yet. I'm paying for it a little at a time.

"The price was seventy-five dollars. It was made for me at O'Dowd and Levinsky's shop. I paid ten dollars first, and now I have to pay a dollar a week until it's all paid.

"And that's all I have to say, Mr. Farrington, except that my name is Mamie Siviter, and not Madame Beaumont. Thank you for listening to me. This dollar is the dollar I'm going to pay for my dress tomorrow. And now I'll go up to my room."

As Harold Farrington listened, his face had not changed. When she had finished, he took out a small book and began to write in it. Then he pulled out the small page with his writing on it, and gave it to her. And he took the dollar from her hand.

"I go to work too, tomorrow morning," he said. "And I decided to begin now. That paper says you've paid your dollar for this week. I've been working for O'Dowd and Levinsky for three years. Strange, isn't it? We both had the same idea. I always wanted to stay at a good hotel. I get twenty dollars a week. Like you, I put aside a little money at a time, until I had enough. Listen, Mamie. Will you go to the pleasure park on Coney Island with me on pay day?"

The girl who had been Madame Héloise D'Arcy Beaumont smiled.

"I'd love to go, Mr. Farrington. Coney will be all right, although we did live here with rich people for a week." They could hear the night noises of the hot city. Inside the Hotel Lotus it was cool. The waiter stood near, ready to get anything they asked for.

Madame Beaumont started up to her room for the last time.

And he said, "Forget that 'Harold Farrington,' will you? McManus is the name—James McManus. Some call me Jimmy."

"Good night, Jimmy," said Madame.

Download activities to help you understand this story here.

Now it's your turn to use the words in this story. Have you ever lied to people about who you are or where you are from? Do you dream of living a different life? Let us know in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

guest(s) – n. a person who pays to stay at a hotel or eat at a restaurant

waiter(s) – n. a man who serves food or drinks to people in a restaurant or hotel

footstepn. the sound of a foot making a step

seashoren. the land along the edge of the sea that is usually covered with sand or rocks

romancen. a love story

mannern. the way that a person normally behaves especially while with other people

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

shopn. a building or room where goods and services are sold

Quiz: Transients in Arcadia

Start the Quiz to find out

Start Quiz]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/8019/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/8019/VOA Special EnglishFri, 31 Jul 2020 22:51:00 UTC
<![CDATA[ASK A TEACHER - Using ‘Do' in Positive Statements]]>Alice Bryant如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/7238/

This week, we answer several questions about how to use the verb "do."

Cem in Turkey wants to know what "do" means when used before a present tense verb, such as in the statement, "You do bring up a good point."

Jean-Claude in Belgium wants to know why a Learning English writer put "does" before the verb "restrict" in a statement about Trump and student visas.

Issa in Mali wants to know what it means when we use "do" in statements like, "I do have something."

And Amauri in Brazil wants to know why we might use "do" in a statement like "I did spend too much time."

Answer:

Hello Cem, Jean-Claude, Issa and Amauri!

All of your examples have one thing in common: They use the verb "do" in positive statements.

You probably know that "do" can act as a main verb or an auxiliary verb, depending on how it is used. Your examples use it as an auxiliary verb, also known as a helping verb.

The helping verb 'do'

When "do" is a helping verb, it helps us do many things, such as:

  1. Form questions, as in, "Do you play football?"
  2. Give short answers, as in, "Yes, I do."
  3. Make negative statements, as in, "I do not play football."
  4. (and) Give negative commands, as in, "Do not play football."

We do not normally use the helping verb "do" in positive statements, such as, "I play football." However, we can use it in such statements to show emphasis.

For instance, suppose someone was not sure about whether or not you play football. You might make the answer clear by saying, "I do play football." Or, suppose your friends were saying they play basketball. But you play a different sport: football. You might say, "I don't play basketball. But I do play football."

Use of "do" in the positive statement "I do play football" makes the point stronger or clearer.

Similarly, in the examples you asked about, the helping verb "do" was used to give extra emphasis to the positive.

In speaking, when we use "do" in this way, we say it a little louder than the words around it. Listen again: "I do play football." In writing, we sometimes italicize the word to show the emphasis.

That's Ask a Teacher for this week.

Your questions

What questions do you have about English? Send us an email at learningenglish@voanews.com.

I'm Alice Bryant.

Words in This Story

bring up - v. to mention something when talking

positive - adj. a positive statement states a fact

auxiliary verb - n. a verb that is used with another verb to show the verb's tense, to form a question or to make negative sentences

negative - adj. a negative statement states that something is not true or incorrect

emphasis - n. special importance or attention given to something

italicize - v. to put letters, words or numbers on a slant for emphasis

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/7238/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/08/01/7238/VOA Special EnglishFri, 31 Jul 2020 22:50:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Viewer Warns TV Reporter About ‘Lump']]>Anna Matteo如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/7843/

It is the job of many television news reporters to give important information to people watching them.

But recently, that responsibility was reversed. Someone watching the news gave helpful – possibly lifesaving – information to the reporter.

Victoria Price is a news reporter for the television station WFLA in Tampa, Florida. While giving a news report recently, a viewer saw a lump, or raised area, on Price's neck. The viewer emailed Price and advised her to see a doctor.

Price followed the advice. A doctor looked at the lump and told her she had cancer.

The news reporter tweeted that she was having an operation on Monday, July 27. She had the cancerous tumor removed along with parts of her neck.

"Doctor said it's spreading, but not too much," she said. Price added that she is hopeful this will be her "first and last procedure."

The viewer emailed Price last month. In the email, she told Price that the lump reminded her of one she had had.

Twenty-eight-year-old Price is an investigative reporter. She often reports on issues that help her viewers. The catchphrase of her television station on channel 8 in Tampa is "8 On Your Side."

"But the roles recently reversed when I found a viewer on MY side," Price told the Associated Press.

She said that she will always be thankful to "the woman who went out of her way to email me, a total stranger."

"She had zero obligation to," said Price, "but she did anyway."

Then she joked about her television station's catchphrase. She said the viewer's action is great of example of someone "being on your side."

I'm Anna Matteo.

The Associated Press reported this story. Anna Matteo adapted it for VOA Learning English. The editor was Mario Ritter, Jr.

Words in This Story

reversed –v. to switch, to change to the opposite or back to how it once was

viewer –n. a person who watches a program

tumor –n. a mass of tissue made up of cells that are not normal

procedure –n. an operation

catchphrase –n. a group of words used to represent a group or idea

role –n. the part that someone plays in an activity, cause or situation

obligation –n. something that must be done because of a law, rule or promise

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/7843/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/7843/VOA Special EnglishThu, 30 Jul 2020 23:29:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Economy Shrinks at Sharpest Rate Since Great Depression]]>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/2020/07/31/8246/

The United States economy shrank at a yearly rate of 32.9 percent between April and June of this year. It is the worst quarterly contraction in the economy ever recorded.

The contraction came as the coronavirus pandemic pushed struggling businesses to close for a second time in many parts of the country. The closures have left millions of Americans out of work.

The U.S. Commerce Department released the economic numbers Thursday. Its estimate of the contraction in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the worst since the government began keeping such records in 1947.

The decrease comes after a 5 percent drop in economic activity during the first three months of the year. That is when the economy officially entered a recession, ending 11 years of growth, the longest on record in the country.

The record-setting contraction resulted from a collapse in consumer spending, which makes up about 70 percent of economic activity. Restaurants, stores, and theaters closed, while Americans stopped traveling. People did not spend as much money because there was nowhere to spend it.

The drop in GDP shows the "unprecedented hit to the economy from the pandemic,"said economist Andrew Hunter. He added that "it will take years" for the economy to recover. Hunter works for Capital Economics, an economic research service based in London.

So great was the contraction that many experts expect economic activity to rise sharply during the current quarter. Some predict the economy will grow as much as 17 percent, or higher, between now and the end of September.

Yet with the rate of confirmed coronavirus cases rising in many states, more businesses are being forced to either cancel their reopening, or close down again. In addition, the U.S. Senate is considering a proposal to cut government aid to the unemployed. So, it is possible the economy could get even worse in the months to come.

FILE - In this July 13, 2020 file photo, a For Rent sign hangs on a closed shop during the coronavirus pandemic in Miami Beach, Fla.
FILE - In this July 13, 2020 file photo, a For Rent sign hangs on a closed shop during the coronavirus pandemic in Miami Beach, Fla.

In addition to consumer spending, business investment dropped 27 percent and housing fell 38.7 percent between April and June.

State and local governments have been hurt by the loss of tax money and job losses. State and local government spending decreased by a yearly rate of 5.6 percent.

But total government spending was up 2.7 percent because of federal efforts to ease the pain of the recession. Federal spending has risen 17.4 percent, mostly for more than $2 trillion in a coronavirus aid plan. Congress sent many Americans $1,200, gave loans to many businesses and increased unemployment aid.

Congressional leaders and the Trump administration are talking about more aid for people and businesses to fight the recession.

In a separate report Thursday, the Labor Department said requests for unemployment aid increased 12,000 to 1.434 million in the week ending July 25. Nearly 30.2 million jobless Americans are receiving unemployment aid.

President Trump has urged states to reopen businesses. But there are worries that the virus remains a threat to workers and consumers at service industry jobs that often require face-to-face contact.

Many economists say the economy cannot fully recover until the coronavirus is defeated. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that the virus has been endangering a small economic recovery. For that reason, he said, the U.S. central bank plans to keep interest rates near zero well into the future.

I'm Susan Shand.

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

Words in This Story

contraction - n. the state of getting smaller

pandemic - n. a contagious disease that moves from one country to another

gross domestic product - n. the entire output of goods and services in a nation

unprecedented - adj. something that has never happened before

consumer - n. a person who buys things

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/8246/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/8246/VOA Special EnglishThu, 30 Jul 2020 23:28:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Records Lowest Energy Use in 30 Years]]>Mario Ritter如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/1891/

Government officials say the United States is using less energy than it has in thirty years.

The officials noted that this was because much of the nation's economy has been shut down by measures meant to contain the new coronavirus.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a report that reduced demand for coal, gasoline and jet fuel drove the decrease.

The numbers were similar in countries around the world where energy use has fallen. Those trends are expected to turn around as commercial activity restarts. But a decline in U.S. and worldwide greenhouse gas emissions is expected. Greenhouse gases are gasses in the atmosphere that trap heat and are believed to cause rising temperatures.

Overall U.S. energy usage dropped 14 percent during April compared to the same time a year earlier, the energy administration said. That is the lowest monthly level since 1989. It is also the largest decrease ever recorded since the government began collecting the data in 1973.

Before April, the largest drop was in December 2001. That period followed the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. which shocked the economy. A mild winter also depressed demand for electricity.

Not all forms of energy, however, have had decreases. Natural gas usage did not follow the trend and increased by 15 percent during April. Lockdown or stay-at-home orders may have played a part in the increase.

Petroleum use fell to 14.7 million barrels a day in April, down almost a third compared to the same period last year. However, demand already has rebounded after stay-at-home orders ended and large parts of the economy started moving again.

Cars are parked in an auto dealer lot Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Green Park, Mo. U.S. retail sales recorded a record drop in March, with auto sales down 25.6%, as the coronavirus outbreak closed thousands of stores and shoppers stayed home.
Cars are parked in an auto dealer lot Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Green Park, Mo. U.S. retail sales recorded a record drop in March, with auto sales down 25.6%, as the coronavirus outbreak closed thousands of stores and shoppers stayed home.

Americans are driving again

People appear to be returning to their old driving habits. Petroleum use in June was back up to 17.6 million barrels a day. That number comes from the American Petroleum Institute. However, the group noted that new drilling activity continues to be weak.

Oil exploration has decreased for seven straight months as stockpiles of oil and petroleum products remain near record levels.

"While we are not out of the woods yet, we do appear to be headed in the right direction," said Dean Foreman, the industry group's chief economist.

Coal companies are expected to have more difficulty than petroleum producers in recovering from the coronavirus crisis. The industry has been decreasing since 2007 although President Donald Trump has sought to support it.

Coal use fell 27 percent in April compared to the same period in 2019. Most coal produced in the U.S. is used to create electricity, but many electricity producers have switched to less costly natural gas and renewables: wind and solar.

The energy administration predicts that all energy usage will remain below 2019 levels for the rest of the year.

I'm Mario Ritter, Jr.

Matthew Brown reported this story for the Associated Press. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

trend –n. the general direction in which something is moving

rebound –v. to bounce back to an earlier level, to improve to where it once was

stockpile –n. a surplus supply kept to prevent a future shortage

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/1891/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/1891/VOA Special EnglishThu, 30 Jul 2020 23:28:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Republicans, Democrats Reject Trump's Suggestion to ‘Delay’ Election]]>Dorothy Gundy如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/0196/

United States President Donald Trump on Thursday raised the idea of delaying the nation's November 3 presidential election. However, Republicans and Democrats immediately dismissed the suggestion saying the power belongs to Congress, not the president.

Trump wrote Thursday on Twitter that mail-in voting will lead to "the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history." He added, "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"

The tweet came shortly after the government reported bad economic news. The Commerce Department said the U.S. economy shrank at a yearly rate of 32.9 percent in the months of April to June: a record for the country.

With just over three months until Election Day, the president is also running behind former Vice President Joe Biden in many national and states' election polls. In addition, an increasing number of American states are making it easier for people to vote by mail during the coronavirus outbreak.

Several members of the president's Republican Party, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, quickly rejected the idea of delaying the election. McConnell told a Kentucky television station, "Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions, and the Civil War have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we'll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3."

Democratic U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren chairs the House committee overseeing election security. She wrote in an email to reporters, "Only Congress can change the date of our elections" and Congress will not consider it.

Republican Governor Chris Sununu of the northeastern state of New Hampshire added "Make no mistake: the election will happen in New Hampshire on November 3rd. End of story."

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to set the dates of the U.S. presidential elections. Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said, "Since 1845 we've had an election on the first Tuesday after November 1st and we're going to have one again this year." Rubio added that people "should have confidence in it."

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at the Colonial Early Education Program at the Colwyck Training Center in New Castle, Del., July 21, 2020.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at the Colonial Early Education Program at the Colwyck Training Center in New Castle, Del., July 21, 2020.

Does mail-in voting lead to fraud?

Trump has previously claimed that mail-in voting will lead to fraud. But this is the first time he ever raised the idea of pushing back the election.

Hogan Gidley, the Trump campaign's spokesman, said "The President is just raising a question about the chaos Democrats have created with their insistence on all mail-in voting." He added that the state of New York was "sending every registered voter a ballot whether they asked for one or not."

Just weeks ago, Trump refused to say whether he would accept the results of the upcoming November election. When asked by Chris Wallace of Fox News, he said, "No, I'm not going to just say 'yes.' I'm not going to say 'no,' and I didn't last time, either." Trump made a similar statement during the 2016 election.

During primary elections, some states had difficulty finding workers for Election Day. Many reduced places for in-person voting. Voters and health officials have also expressed concerns about the possible dangers of spreading the virus during in-person voting.

FILE - A voter, left, places a ballot in a secure box as Providence City Clerk Shawn Selleck, right, looks on, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in Providence, R.I. More American voters asked for mail ballots during the coronavirus outbreak.
FILE - A voter, left, places a ballot in a secure box as Providence City Clerk Shawn Selleck, right, looks on, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in Providence, R.I. More American voters asked for mail ballots during the coronavirus outbreak.

For the general election, California has already announced plans to send ballots to all registered voters and to also have in-person voting. But many American states are still setting up their plans during the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this month, Biden told the host of The Daily Show Trevor Noah that Trump was "going to try to steal this election." "This is a guy who said that all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, voting by mail, while he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in the primary," Biden said.

I'm Dorothy Gundy.

Hai Do wrote this story for VOA Learning English with additional reporting from Reuters and the Associated Press. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

fraudulent –adj. something done to trick someone for the purpose of getting something valuable

polls –n. (pl.) an activity meant to find out what the public thinks in which people are asked their opinion on an issue or who they support in an election

outbreak –n. a sudden start or increase in the spread of a disease or fighting

chaos –n. complete confusion and disorder, a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/0196/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/0196/VOA Special EnglishThu, 30 Jul 2020 23:27:00 UTC
<![CDATA[EVERYDAY GRAMMAR - How Many Meanings of 'Run' Do You Know?]]>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/2020/07/31/1390/

Here is the truth about the English language: Some words take up so much space in the dictionary that they could be their own book.

And the word "run" would be the biggest book of all.

When you think of "run," the first thing that might come to mind is a person moving very quickly with their legs. But "run" can act as both a verb and a noun, with meanings too numerous to count -- unless you like counting to 645. That is the number of definitions that Oxford English Dictionary has found for "run" for its upcoming 2037 edition.

The massive number of uses for this three-letter word hit a growth spurt during the Industrial Revolution. It has not slowed down since.

The good news is you can often guess the meaning by how the speaker or writer uses it. So, instead of thinking of "run" as an impossible list of definitions, think of it as a power tool of language. It can help you communicate a lot of ideas.

In fact, I bet you already know more than you realize. So on today's Everyday Grammar program, I am going help you test your knowledge on "run" as a verb. I will say a sentence and ask a question. You will have a short time to choose your answers.

Ready? Here is the first one:

  1. The crosstown bus runs every 20 minutes on weekdays.

Which meaning of "run" did the speaker use?

  1. to move quickly using your legs
  2. to travel along a usual route
  3. to make a short, quick visit
FILE - Passengers wearing face masks are seen on a bus in Bilbao, northern Spain, June 12, 2020.
FILE - Passengers wearing face masks are seen on a bus in Bilbao, northern Spain, June 12, 2020.

The answer is b. to travel along a usual route. It can also mean to travel at usual times on the route. We use "run" in this way when talking about public transportation, such as buses and trains. A bus can run every 20 minutes, for example. It can also run from First Street to Tenth Street.

  1. Careful! Don't put the grass cutter down while it's running.

Which meaning of "run" did the speaker use?

  1. to function or operate
  2. to test or check something or someone
  3. to produce a flow of liquid
A grass cutter sits on a lawn.
A grass cutter sits on a lawn.

The answer is a. to function or operate. This meaning is generally connected to mechanical or electrical objects and equipment. When the power for a piece of equipment is on, it is running. That also includes car engines and computers. A closely related meaning deals with starting or using a computer program.

  1. Muriel Bowser ran for mayor of Washington, D.C. in 2018 and won.

Which meaning of "run" did the speaker use?

  1. to test or check someone or something
  2. to direct the business or activities of
  3. to be a candidate for an official position
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

The answer is c. to be a candidate for an official position. We use this meaning for any person who can be chosen through an election, including for president, governor or mayor, or unrelated positions.

  1. Moira has run a program for young athletes for three years.

Which meaning of "run" did the speaker use?

  1. to direct the business or activities of
  2. to move quickly using your legs
  3. to make a short, quick visit
A young athlete jumps during a competition.
A young athlete jumps during a competition.

The answer is a. to direct the business or activities of. A person (or people) can run an organization, a company, a program or even an event. An official can also run an agency or a city, state or country. For instance, Muriel Bowser now runs the city of Washington, D.C.

  1. I need to run a few errands to buy supplies. Then, I'm stopping at mom's house for lunch.

Which meaning of "run" did the speaker use?

  1. to cost an amount
  2. to leave or go quickly
  3. to do a task that involves a quick trip
An art supply shop in Venice, Italy
An art supply shop in Venice, Italy

The answer is c. to do a task that involves a quick trip. We almost always use the verb "run" in relation to errands. We can say, for example, "I have (a few) errands to run" or "I need to run (a few) errands."

And here is the last one:

  1. Sorry, I can't talk now. I have to run. I'm leading a meeting at 2 o'clock.

Which meaning of "run" did the speaker use?

  1. to move quickly using your legs
  2. to leave or go quickly
  3. to direct the business or activities of
A member of the Mexican NAFTA negotiation team checks her phone during a lunch break in Mexico City, Mexico, Feb. 28, 2018.
A member of the Mexican NAFTA negotiation team checks her phone during a lunch break in Mexico City, Mexico, Feb. 28, 2018.

The answer is b. to leave or go quickly. This is a meaning we use informally with friends, close coworkers or family. For example, if you were on a phone call with a friend but you had to quickly end the call, you could tell the person you have to run.

Actually, I have to run now, too! Thanks for taking the quick test. Look and listen for the word "run" wherever English is being used. Then, ask yourself if you can guess the meaning by how the speaker or writer uses it.

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

Words in This Story

dictionary - n. a reference book that contains words listed in alphabetical order and gives the words' meanings, forms and pronunciations

edition - n. a particular version of a book

growth spurt - n. an occurrence of growing quickly and suddenly in a short period of time

guess - v. to form an opinion or give an answer about something when you do not know much about it

function - v. to work or operate

errand - n. a short journey that you take to do or get something

task - n. a piece of work to be done or undertaken

informally - adv. in a way that is not suited for serious or official speech and writing

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/1390/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2020/07/31/1390/VOA Special EnglishThu, 30 Jul 2020 23:26:00 UTC