VOA慢速英语听力 - UNSV英语学习频道VOA慢速英语听力https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/http://www.unsv.com/images/unsv.gif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,各大英语培训机构推荐核心教材。https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/zh-CNhttp://www.unsv.com60版权所有©2003-2021 UNSV英语学习频道,保留所有权利。Wed, 14 Apr 2021 23:00:04 UTC<![CDATA[US Colleges Divided Over Requiring Student Vaccinations]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/14/0602/

American colleges and universities hope to return to pre-COVID life in the autumn. Some schools are urging students to get the vaccine but others are wondering if they should or legally could require it.

Colleges and universities that plan to return to in-person teaching have launched campaigns to get students vaccinated before the summer.

Universities including Rutgers, Brown, Cornell and Northeastern recently told students they must get vaccinated before returning to classes in the autumn. They hope to reach herd immunity among the student population. They believe it would permit them to lift space restrictions.

"It takes away any ambiguity about whether individuals should be vaccinated," said Kenneth Henderson. He is the head of Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

He added that making sure students are vaccinated will tell the surrounding town or city that "we are taking all appropriate measures."

Northeastern and other colleges requiring shots believe they have the legal right to demand students be vaccinated. It is not unusual for colleges to require students to be vaccinated for other diseases. Last year, a court let stand a flu shot requirement at the University of California.

Leave the decision to students

However, some colleges believe they cannot legally require vaccinations and are leaving the decisions to students.

Officials at Virginia Tech University say they cannot legally require the vaccine because it has not been given full approval by the United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has only approved some vaccines for emergency use in the U.S.

Legal experts say the COVID-19 vaccines' emergency use approval makes a legal claim more likely. And some colleges may not require the vaccine to avoid legal problems.

Harvard Law professor Glenn Cohen teaches health law and bioethics. He argued there is no legal reason colleges would not be permitted to require COVID-19 vaccinations. It makes no difference that the shots have not been given full approval, he said.

The problem is that there is no federal law or court decision that helps colleges and universities decide how to move forward.

Other legal issues

The biggest problems could come in states that have already banned, or plan to ban, any vaccine requirements, Cohen said.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis this month banned all businesses from requiring anyone to show proof of vaccination. The order raises problems for Florida's Nova Southeastern University. It plans to require students, teachers, and professors to get vaccinated. The college president said he will "respect the laws of our state and all federal directives."

Texas also has a ban on vaccine requirements.

And then there are other problems for schools that require the vaccine. Federal law says colleges must work with any student who refuses a vaccine for medical or religious reasons. Also, there is no widely accepted proof of vaccination paperwork.

At Northeastern, officials are still deciding whether students will be asked to show some kind of vaccine record or just be asked if they have been vaccinated.

"We would expect students to be honest," Henderson said.

American colleges are also struggling with what to expect of international students. Some may not have access to vaccines in their home countries. And some may not have access to vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S.

Several colleges say they are planning to make shots available for international students when they arrive.

Northeastern student Tyler Lee said he thinks requiring vaccinations is the right move because it will help stop the virus spread and protect the community. Students agree with the decision, he said.

"It's Northeastern's decision," said Tyler Lee. "If I didn't like it, I would transfer. And that's what most students feel," he added.

I'm Susan Shand.

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

Words in This Story

herd immunity - n. herd immunity is a form of protection from infectious disease when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.

ambiguity - n. something that does not have a single clear meaning

appropriate - adj. right or suited for some purpose or situation

bioethics - n. the study of the ethical issues emerging from advances in biology and medicine.

transfer - v. move to another school

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

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/14/0602/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/14/0602/VOA慢速英语听力Tue, 13 Apr 2021 22:02:49 UTC
<![CDATA[US Calls for 'Pause' in Use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine]]>Dan Friedell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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/14/0558/

American health officials called for a "pause" in the use of the COVID-19 vaccine made by drug maker Johnson & Johnson, known as J&J. They said six people developed rare cases of blood system blockages, known as blood clots, after receiving the vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a joint statement Tuesday saying they are studying the cases.

The agencies said six women, between the ages of 18 and 48, had blood clots from six to 13 days after vaccination. The FDA had approved the J&J vaccine for emergency use in late February. So far, nearly 7 million shots have been given out, most with few or no side effects.

Health officials said anyone who has pain in their head, legs, in the middle part of their body or trouble breathing after receiving the J&J shot should contact their doctor. They also warned that a usual treatment for blood clots, the drug heparin, might be dangerous. They advised that healthcare workers should use different treatments for side effects from the vaccine.

"I'd like to stress these events appear to be extremely rare. However, COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government," said FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock at a news conference on Tuesday. She expected the pause to last for a few days.

The U.S. health agencies said their action was not an order to stop using the J&J vaccine. They said healthcare providers and patients could decide whether or not to receive the vaccine.

However, several American states, including New York and Minnesota, said they would immediately stop using the vaccine until further study is completed.

Similar to AstraZeneca cases

Until now, concern about rare blood clots has centered on the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Britain's University of Oxford. Last week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it has found a "possible link" between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare cases of blood clots among women under the age of 60. The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for emergency use in over 100 countries including Britain and the European Union, but not in the U.S.

In a news release, Johnson & Johnson said it was aware of the reports of blood clots, but that no link to its vaccine had been established. The company added it would delay the rollout of its vaccine in Europe.

Both the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines are made using a modified cold virus to help the human body develop proteins to fight the coronavirus. Two other vaccines, Sputnik V from Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute and China's shot from CanSino Biologics use the same technology. These vaccines do not require cold storage, making them easier to use in areas with limited resources.

The reports of blood clots are a second incident of bad news for Johnson & Johnson. In late March, millions of shots had to be thrown out after a manufacturing mistake was found at a factory in Baltimore, Maryland. Johnson & Johnson then took over the production in hopes of meeting its commitment to provide the United States with about 100 million shots by the end of May.

I'm Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell and Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Would you refuse the Johnson & Johnson vaccine based on this news? Tell us in the Comments Section and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

pause –n. a temporary stop : a period of time in which something is stopped before it is started again

priority –n. something that is more important than other things

rollout –n. a time when a new product or service is first offered for sale or use

blood clot –n. a thick and sticky clump of dried blood that stops blood from flowing through a blood vessel

storage –n. space where you put things when they are not being used

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/14/0558/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/14/0558/VOA慢速英语听力Tue, 13 Apr 2021 21:58:11 UTC
<![CDATA[The Real Prince Philip vs. Philip of The Crown]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/14/0555/

The Crown is a popular television drama about the British royal family.

One of the most important characters is Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband. Several shows shine a light on Prince Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh. They examine his life and his feelings about being a consort of the royal family. A consort is the marriage partner of a member of a royal family.

Matt Smith played a young Prince Philip in the first two seasons and Tobias Menzies played a middle-aged Philip in seasons three and four.

The real Prince Philip died Friday at age 99.

The Philip in the TV show is seen being a cold father to his son Prince Charles. The show also suggests Philip was unfaithful to his wife. But he is shown as a positive influence on Elizabeth, and a man who loves his country.

Peter Morgan is the creator of the Netflix show. He said the show is based on historical research and imagination. The truth of Philip's life in the royal family may never be fully known. But here are a few true things to compare to the show:

Family trouble

The Crown: Philip wants his children to take his last name, Mountbatten, and not the Queen's, Windsor. The answer is no.

When Elizabeth becomes Queen, Philip leaves the military. He and Elizabeth fight over his role in the royal family. He hates that he must kneel to his wife during the Queen's coronation.

Philip later accepts his role as consort, and the two find a balance in their family and marriage.

Real life: When Philip was not allowed to change the family name, he complained. In Gyles Bradreth's book, Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage, he was angry that he could not give the children his family name.

"I am nothing but a bloody amoeba," he said.

Eight years later, it was decided that his children and grandchildren would use both names. For example, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's son is named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Man of ddventure:

The Crown: In one episode, Philip is interested in the first moon landing. He watches the astronauts with great respect and thinks his life is boring by comparison. He meets the three American astronauts and tells them that his position and marriage kept him from the life he wanted.

Real Life: Philip lived a life of adventure. He fought in World War II, received medals and became a first lieutenant in the Royal Navy.

He learned to fly in the 1950s. He was a polo player, painter, art collector and skilled sailor. He drove until the age of 97, when he crashed his car.

On Princess Diana

The Crown: When Diana and Philip first meet at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, they become friends. After a day of hunting and talking, Philip supports her marriage to Charles.

The marriage begins to fail. Diana tells Philip she is thinking of leaving the royal family. She says the family does not care about her. Philip tells her everyone in the family is an outsider except the Queen.

Real Life: In letters between Diana and Philip, he was supportive of Diana. He was also critical of his son's involvement with now-wife Camilla.

Then Diana gave a very truthful TV interview that Philip did not like. He wrote that she must "fit in" or leave the family.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Lynn Elber reported this story for the Associated Press. Dan Novak adapted it for VOA Learning English. Susan Shand was the editor.

Words in This Story

unfaithful- adj. - having a sexual relationship with someone who is not your wife, husband, or partner

kneel - v. to be in a position in which one or both of your knees are on the floor

coronation- n. a ceremony in which a crown is placed on the head of a new king or queen

amoeba- n. a tiny living thing that consists of a single cell

outsider- n. - a person who does not belong to or is not accepted as part of a particular group or organization

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/14/0555/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/14/0555/VOA慢速英语听力Tue, 13 Apr 2021 21:55:02 UTC
<![CDATA[Coronavirus Again Limits Ramadan Observation]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/14/0537/

Muslims around the world marked the start of Ramadan Tuesday. But a rise in COVID-19 cases has again placed limits on how they can observe the holy month.

Ramadan is traditionally marked by longer prayers in crowded mosques. Muslims do not eat or drink from morning to night. The custom is meant to stop unhealthy habits and to feel closer to God. At the end of the day, they meet with friends and family to eat a big feast, called the "iftar."

Last year, Islam's holiest month began during the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Many mosques have since reopened and restrictions have eased this year. However, crowded gatherings in mosques and large gatherings for meals remain banned.

Mecca in Saudi Arabia is home of the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site. Limited numbers of people were permitted inside the Great Mosque of Mecca on Tuesday, which houses the Kaaba. Other Muslims could only pray towards the Kaaba five times a day.

In Lebanon, plans for Ramadan had to change as the country faces the worst economic crisis in its history.

Samiyeh al-Turk was at a busy outdoor market in Beirut. "We cannot buy anything. We ask how much the lettuce is, the cucumber and the tomato," she said. "How we are going to get through the month of Ramadan? I don't know."

Israel has permitted 10,000 vaccinated Palestinians to pray in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque starting Friday. But a night time curfew in the crowded Gaza Strip restricted family gatherings as the virus continues to spread.

Curfews remain in Iraq throughout Ramadan. Business owners and shops could operate but only through home deliveries.

Vaccinations are a challenge for Muslim nations giving shots throughout Ramadan. There is an Islamic teaching that Muslims should not put anything in the body during Ramadan between sunrise and sunset.

But Indonesia's top religious leaders said that Muslims eligible for vaccinations are "required" to take the shots during Ramadan. Mosques are permitted to open for prayers with restrictions. People can hold iftar gatherings at 50 percent capacity.

Anna Mardyastuti lives in Indonesia's capital of Jakarta. "Easing restrictions is like a breath of fresh air for us who are tired by this COVID-19 outbreak," she said. "Yes, they should act to stop the virus, but not block the door to worship or change our tradition of Ramadan entirely."

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has refused to close mosques even as infections in the country rise to new highs. Mosque leaders are told not to let anyone older than 50 enter to pray, but the restrictions are rarely followed.

And in Egypt, the government prevented mosques from serving free meals during Ramadan. It also banned traditional iftars that would bring together large amounts of people at long tables.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Amr Nabil and Niniek Karmini reported this story for the Associated Press. Dan Novak adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

mosque n. a building that is used for Muslim religious services

habit-n. a usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way

feast- n. a special meal with large amounts of food and drink

delivery-n. the act of taking something to a person or place

capacity-n. the ability to hold or contain people or things -- usually singular

outbreak-n. a sudden start or increase of fighting or disease

worship-v. to honor or respect (someone or something) as a god

eligibleadj. able to be chosen for something : able to do or receive something

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/14/0537/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/14/0537/VOA慢速英语听力Tue, 13 Apr 2021 21:37:46 UTC
<![CDATA[How to Transplant Your Garden]]>Hai Do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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/13/0601/

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

If you have never grown your own transplants for your garden, perhaps this is the year to try.

First, what is a "transplant?" In gardening, transplant is the process of planting seeds inside and then moving the new growth, or sprout, outside.

Transplanting is easy and often costs less. You get to watch the new growth happen up close. It also lets you grow different kinds of fruits and vegetables that may have trouble growing from seed outside.

If you are new to this type of gardening, do not worry. A garden expert and writer for the Associated Press, Lee Reich, recently shared this advice.

Reich suggests starting with flowers or vegetables that are easy to grow from seed. Flowers such as zinnia, calendula, and cosmos are some of the easiest. Good choices for vegetables (depending on where you live) are lettuce, kale, cabbage, and the ever-popular tomato.

However, Reich and other experts warn that some vegetables should not be grown as transplants. Root vegetables -- such as carrots, beets, and parsnips -- do not transplant easily. The process can hurt the roots.

Vegetables such as corn, squash, cucumbers, melons, beans, and peas do not like to be transplanted. They can be transplanted with care, but you are better off planting them directly in the ground.

Container and soil

To get started with transplants, you will need a container and soil. The container should be between 5 to 10 centimeters deep. Some seeds need deeper dirt than others. You can use containers you may have around your house, like egg cartons.

Most important is that any container have one or more holes in the bottom. This is so some water can drain out.

Garden soil, even good garden soil, says Riech, will not work. It does not drain quickly enough in a container. Our expert suggests using a special mix called potting soil. Potting soil has additional material such as perlite, vermiculite, or sand to improve drainage.

Fill the containers with the potting soil and push it down – but not too much.

Plant the seeds

Then plant seeds, three or four in each container. Do this by making a small hole into the mix and put in the seed. Cover the seed with the potting soil and press gently again.

Place the containers in a pan, or any flat, open, and larger container that could hold some water. Put water into the pan until the water reaches halfway up the containers with the seeds. After a few hours, remove them from the water.

Germinate the seeds

Seeds need warmth to germinate. The amount of warmth needed is different from plant to plant. (Here, the word "germinate" means to cause a seed to begin to grow.) A good average temperature for just about all seeds is about 24° C.

If the temperature is colder or warmer, seeds will still germinate – just more slowly. Most seeds do not need light to germinate. So, you can place them anywhere in your home.

To keep moisture from drying up from the containers, cover them with clear glass or plastic.

The excitement begins!

Now for the exciting part -- waiting to see little, green sprouts! Remove all but the strongest sprout from each container. Just be careful not to hurt the roots of the sprout that remains.

Your goal now is to grow strong transplants that can survive a move to the outside garden. For this, you need lots of light and cooler temperatures. Even tomatoes, a summer vegetable, grow best as transplants with temperatures between 16 to 20° C.

Do not worry if you do not have perfect growing conditions.

A sunny, south-facing window works well, especially if the room is cool. Turn the plants daily so they grow in one direction toward the light.

You can also use a grow-light, either fluorescent or LED. Put the light close to the plants. Although these lights look bright, they do not compare with sun light. So, use both!

Be careful not to overwater or underwater. For strong growth, plants should be slightly underwatered.

In four to six weeks, most transplants should be two to three times the height of their containers. They should be strong and ready to be transplanted outside -- or almost ready.

Get them used to their future environment with a week of just being outside in the containers. Protect them from full sun, wind, and cold.

Now … they are ready to go into the garden!

And that's the Health and Lifestyle report. I'm Anna Matteo.

And I'm Jill Robbins.

Lee Reich reported this story for The Associated Press. Anna Matteo adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

garden -n. an area of ground where plants (such as flowers or vegetables) are grown

sprout -v. to send out new growth

carton -n. a light box or container usually made of cardboard or plastic​

drain -v. to remove (liquid) from something by letting it flow away or out

potting soil -n. a mixture of dirt and other substances that people use when placing plants in pots

pan -n. a shallow open tray or container

germinate -v. to cause to sprout or develop

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/13/0601/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/13/0601/VOA慢速英语听力Mon, 12 Apr 2021 22:01:43 UTC
<![CDATA[Iran Blames Israel for Nuclear Plant Outage]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/13/0558/

Iran has accused Israel of carrying out an attack on a nuclear center that damaged equipment and caused a power outage.

Iranian officials called Sunday's incident at the Natanz nuclear center an act of "nuclear terrorism." They said centrifuges were damaged at the plant. A centrifuge is a device used to increase the purity of uranium for nuclear purposes.

Media organizations reported the Israeli government was behind the action, which was described as a cyberattack. However, Israel did not claim responsibility for an attack or comment directly on the incident.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would continue efforts aimed at preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon. He said such a device would give Iran the ability "to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel." He added that Israel "will continue to defend itself against Iran's aggression and terrorism."

A former chief of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, General Mohsen Rezaei, said in a message on Twitter that the attack had started a fire.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the country's answer to the action should be "to take revenge against Israel." He did not comment further, but added that Israel "will receive its answer through its own path."

Khatibzadeh confirmed that centrifuges at the plant had been damaged. The incident took place one day after Iran announced it had launched new, advanced centrifuge machines at Natanz. Khatibzadeh said only the older centrifuges were damaged.

Iran's improvements in centrifuge technology are designed to permit the country to process uranium faster.

Since January, Iran has begun enriching uranium to as high as 20 percent purity, a technical step away from weapons-grade levels.

The incident came after negotiations began last week in Vienna aiming to bring the United States back into a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The deal -- which the U.S. left in 2018 under President Donald Trump -- restricts Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing U.S. and international sanctions.

The U.S. reestablished economic sanctions after withdrawing from the agreement. Iran answered by violating some of the terms of the deal.

In Vienna, officials from the U.S. and Iran were holding indirect talks. Also taking part were representatives from countries still in the nuclear deal -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived Monday in Israel for talks with Netanyahu and other officials. When asked by reporters whether the nuclear discussions might be affected by the incident at the plant Lloyd said, "Those efforts will continue."

In a statement, the White House said it knew about the Natanz attack and that "the U.S. was not involved in any manner."

I'm Bryan Lynn.

The Associated Press and Reuters reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the reports for 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

cyberattack – n. an attempt by attackers to damage or destroy a computer network or system

eliminate v. remove or get rid of something

revenge – n. the act of doing something to hurt someone because that person did something that hurt you

advanced – adj. having developed or progressed to a late stage

sanction – n. a restriction, usually limiting trade, that are meant to cause a country to obey international law

manner –n. way or method that something is done

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/13/0558/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/13/0558/VOA慢速英语听力Mon, 12 Apr 2021 21:58:31 UTC
<![CDATA[Why COVID-19 Conspiracies Are So Common]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/13/0555/

As COVID-19 continues, psychologists and misinformation experts are studying why the pandemic has led to so many conspiracy theories.

Such theories have persuaded some people to avoid facial coverings, social distancing and vaccines.

Opposition to vaccines by some Americans is not new. Daniel Roberts, a 29-year-old Tennessee man, says he had not received a vaccination since he was six years old. His parents taught him that vaccines were dangerous. And when the coronavirus arrived, they called it a hoax. The vaccine, they said, was the real threat.

So when Roberts got his COVID-19 shot at a Walmart store last month, it felt like a break from his past.

"Five hundred thousand people have died in this country. That's not a hoax," Roberts told The Associated Press. He was speaking about the conspiracy theories believed by his family and friends. "I don't know why I didn't believe all of it myself," he said. "I guess I chose to believe the facts."

Experts are seeing links between beliefs in COVID-19 falsehoods and dependence on social media as a main source of news and information.

And they are finding that COVID-19 conspiracy theories provide people with a false sense of empowerment. By offering hidden explanations, they give the believer a feeling of control in a situation that seems frightening.

"We need to learn from what has happened, to make sure we can prevent it from happening the next time," said Richard Carmona. He was U.S. Surgeon General during former President George W. Bush's administration. "Masks become a symbol of your political party. People are saying vaccines are useless," he said.

About one in every four Americans said they believe the pandemic was "definitely" or "probably" created on purpose. That information comes from a Pew Research Center questionnaire from June. Other conspiracy theories center on economic restrictions and vaccine safety. More and more, these untrue claims are causing real-world problems.

In January, anti-vaccine activists forced a vaccine center in Los Angeles to close for a day. In Europe, people burned nearly 80 cell towers because of claims that 5G wireless signals were causing the infection. In other places, medical workers were attacked and a pharmacist destroyed vaccine doses. In addition, hundreds of people died after taking chemicals they believed to be cures.

The most popular conspiracy theories often help people explain complex events, when the truth may be too troubling to accept. That information comes from Helen Lee Bouygues, founder and president of the Reboot Foundation in Paris. The foundation researches and pushes for critical thinking in the internet age.

Such theories often appear after important or frightening times in history: the moon landing, the September 11 attacks, or the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

"People need big explanations for big problems, for big world events," said John Cook. He is a cognitive scientist and conspiracy theory expert at Monash University in Australia. Simpler explanations "are just psychologically unsatisfying" to conspiracists, he said.

This drive is so strong, Cook said, that people often believe theories that go against each other. Roberts, for example, said his parents at first thought COVID-19 was caused by cell towers. Then, they decided the virus was a hoax. The only explanations they did not accept were those coming from medical experts.

Trust in American establishments has been further harmed by false statements from leaders like President Donald Trump. He repeatedly said that the virus was not dangerous. And he suggested bleach, a chemical cleanser, as a treatment. In addition, the former president spoke publicly against his administration's own health experts.

An examination of data by Cornell University researchers found that Trump was one of the greatest drivers of false coronavirus claims. Studies also show that conservatives are more likely to believe conspiracy theories or share COVID-19 misinformation.

Carmona said he recently spoke to a group of executives about the coronavirus. One executive suggested the Chinese government and Democrats in America created the pandemic to hurt Trump's reelection chances.

A shared distrust in American establishments has helped to unite several groups that agree on COVID-19 conspiracy theories. They include far-right groups, anti-vaccine activists and supporters of the conspiracy group QAnon.

Researchers are thinking about what does and does not work when talking to friends or family who support untrue claims. And they are finding possible solutions to the bigger problem of online misinformation. These include stronger efforts by social media companies and possibly new government rules.

Experts also say teaching critical thinking skills and how to decide what news is factual is needed as the internet grows as a news source.

In recent years, an idea called inoculation theory has become popular. Inoculation is another term for vaccination. The theory involves using online games or tutorials to train people to think more critically about information. One example is from Cambridge University researchers. They created the online game Go Viral!, which teaches players by having them create their own misleading materials.

Studies show the games increase resistance to online misinformation. But like many vaccines, the effects are temporary. This leads researchers to wonder how to make them more permanent.

Someday, such games might be placed as advertisements before online videos. Or prizes may be given as a way to grow interest in protecting the public against misinformation.

I'm Bryan Lynn. And I'm Alice Bryant.

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

Words in This Story

conspiracy theory – n. a theory that explains an event or situation as the result of a secret plan by usually powerful people or groups

hoax – n. an act that is meant to trick or deceive people

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

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

definitely – adv. without a doubt

cell tower – n. a base station where electronic communications equipment and cellular antennae are placed

cognitive – adj. relating to or involving conscious mental activities

data – n. facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something

tutorial – n. a book, computer program or something else that teaches someone how to do something by explaining each stage of a process

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/13/0555/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/13/0555/VOA慢速英语听力Mon, 12 Apr 2021 21:55:16 UTC
<![CDATA[NASA Prepares for First Helicopter Flight Test on Mars]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/12/0601/

The U.S. space agency's explorer, Perseverance, arrived on Mars on February 18 with an important piece of equipment.

NASA's Perseverance was carrying an experimental aircraft called Ingenuity, which is set to have its first test flight this week. NASA hopes to make the helicopter the first vehicle to fly on a planet other than Earth.

NASA recently announced that Ingenuity had been safely lowered onto the surface of Mars from its storage space underneath Perseverance. The explorer, or rover, then moved about five meters away from Ingenuity. The rover and aircraft are communicating through radios.

After separating from the rover, the helicopter faced its first important test on Mars -- protecting itself from the planet's freezing temperatures. Readings taken from instruments on Perseverance from early April showed low temperatures at the landing area, called Jezero Crater, had reached minus 83 degrees Celsius.

In a statement, NASA said Ingenuity passed the test by surviving its first night alone in the extreme cold. The helicopter used its own solar-powered battery to operate a heater to protect its electrical equipment from damage.

The space agency praised the success as "a major milestone" for the experimental aircraft.

MiMi Aung is Ingenuity's project leader at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She said that while her team did all it could to prepare the helicopter, the group was very excited to see the results of their work on Mars.

"We now have confirmation that we have the right insulation, the right heaters, and enough energy in its battery to survive the cold night, which is a big win for the team," Aung said. "We're excited to continue to prepare Ingenuity for its first flight test."

The next set of tests involves the aircraft's motors and rotor equipment. The helicopter will be the first aircraft to attempt powered, controlled flight on another planet.

NASA has compared Ingenuity's attempt to the Wright Brothers' first flight of a motor-driven airplane near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903. In recognition of that historic flight, a small piece of cloth that covered a wing from the Wright Brothers plane was attached to the helicopter for its first flight on Mars.

The main purpose of the Perseverance rover is to search for signs of microbial life from the planet's ancient past. The explorer is expected to collect rock and soil materials from the surface. They will be sent to Earth by a future mission to Mars.

During its first test, Ingenuity will attempt to rise about three meters off the surface. It will try to briefly push forward into the planet's extremely thin atmosphere. Then, the aircraft will attempt to turn around and complete a soft landing.

If the first flight is successful, other tests will be carried out, with Ingenuity trying to go a little higher and farther each time. NASA says such helicopters could assist astronauts on future search and collection missions.

NASA recently released pictures of Perseverance and Ingenuity. The space agency described one of the pictures as a "selfie." It showed the rover and helicopter sitting on the rocky surface of Mars.

The rover was able to capture the selfie with its robotic arm, which has a camera attached to the end. NASA said the picture was made from 62 individual images that were put together once they were sent back to Earth.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for Learning English, based on reports from NASA, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. 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

battery – n. a device that is placed inside a machine to supply it with electricity

milestone n. an important point in the progress or development of something

insulation – n. a material used to stop heat, cold, sound or electricity from escaping or entering

rotor – n. a part of a machine that spins, especially the device supporting the turning blades of a helicopter

microbial – adj. relating to microbes (very small living things)

missionn. the flight of a spacecraft to perform a task or job

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/12/0601/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/12/0601/VOA慢速英语听力Sun, 11 Apr 2021 22:01:10 UTC
<![CDATA[Students Plotting School Violence Show Worrying Signs]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/12/0558/

A new study finds that students who plan attacks on schools are often bullied and act in ways that worry others.

The same warning signs are found in many adults who carry out shooting attacks.

The Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center carried out the study. It examined 100 students responsible for planning 67 attacks from 2006 to 2018 in schools across the U.S. Each of the planned attacks were discovered and prevented.

Most of the students researched were angry at other students. Many were suicidal or had depression. Eight wanted to be famous.

More than half of the students were impacted by bad childhood experiences. Many experienced drug dependence at home or their parents had mental health problems. Others planned to kill themselves as part of the attack and used drugs and alcohol.

The schools targeted were in 33 states. Most were public high schools. Thirty-seven percent were in areas near cities and 14 percent were in cities. The plotters were mostly male. Only five were female. The youngest was 11 and the oldest was 19.

Many of the students also showed interest in violence or hate. One-third researched past school shootings. Nine students displayed an interest in the leader of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler, Nazism or white supremacy.

The researchers found that about 94 percent talked about their plans in some way. Seventy-five percent of plots were detected because the plotters talked about the attacks, either in person or online. About 36 percent were thwarted within just two days of their intended attacks.

"The findings demonstrate there are almost always intervention points available before a student resorts to violence," said Lina Alathari, leader of the center.

All of the plots studied were serious planned attacks, and the planners took at least some steps toward committing the attack. The people who discovered the plots and told officials likely saved lives.

The report's findings will be given to more than 11,000 schools and community organizations for training, Alathari said. The goal is to use the information so schools can better identify warning signs. But that does not mean expelling students.

"The study found expelling students doesn't eliminate the risk," said Steven Driscoll, one of the writers of the study. Instead, schools should stop bullying and give mental health support.

Some of the students were arrested and faced criminal charges. But the goal of the study, researchers said, was not to identify people to arrest but to identify early warning signs, so that students do not end up getting arrested.

Driscoll said that planned violence, like school shootings, is preventable if communities can identify warning signs and intervene.

"The primary objective is providing a student with help as early as possible," Driscoll said.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Colleen Long reported this story for The Associated Press. Dan Novak adapted it for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

bully v. to frighten, hurt, or threaten another person

depression –n. a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad and hopeless

impact v. to have a strong and often bad effect on

thwart v.. to prevent from doing something or to stop from happening

intend v. to plan or want to do

resort –v. to do something especially because no other choices appear to be available

eliminate –v. to remove, get rid of

primary –adj. most important, first

objective –n. something that a person is trying to do or reach; a goal or purpose

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

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/12/0558/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/12/0558/VOA慢速英语听力Sun, 11 Apr 2021 21:58:27 UTC
<![CDATA[In Italy, Dancing Helps During Lockdown]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/12/0557/

Much of Italy is still in a coronavirus lockdown.

So live music, theatrical performances and movies continue to be banned. And many sporting activities are limited.

However, in an industrial area just outside of Rome, competitive ballroom dancing is alive and well. With certain health and safety measures, it just looks a little different.

Face coverings or social distancing are usually not part of the ballroom dancing experience. But they are now. And they do not stop partners of every age from dancing gracefully across the floor.

At the New Dancing Days center, dance partners are getting ready for the Italian Championship in Rimini in July. The government considers this activity a national interest. So, the dancers are permitted to keep training. In Italy, other federally recognized competitive athletes are able to keep training even during the latest virus-related bans.

"Yes, we can do it. Here we can keep on dancing," said Raffaella Serafini. At the age of 45, Serafini has competed in ballroom dancing for a long time, 35 years. She is the owner of New Dancing Days.

The dance center has mirrors on the walls and multi-colored lights. Partners wear face coverings during warm-ups and breaks. They can remove them while performing traditional ballroom or Latin dances. But most dancers keep them on anyway.

"It's something beautiful for us because we're older, but we can still put ourselves in play," said 70-year-old Franco Cauli. He is training with his 74-year-old partner for a competition at the end of April.

Cauli said he felt safe with the health measures taken by the dance center. Other dancers, he said, followed the measures seriously and obey them.

The Italian Dance Sport Federation has ruled that 34 dancers are permitted to train in a place the size of New Dancing Days. Currently all 34 dancers at the center, aged nine to 76, train up to five days a week.

From a viewing area above the dance floor, Serafini observes her dancers and shouts directions to them. If she sees something wrong, she will stop the music, go down to the dance floor and show the correct way to do a step, pose, or turn.

"The school is my great pride," she said. "When I see them on the dance floor, it is like I am there."

I'm Anna Matteo.

Alessandra Tarantino reported this story for the Associated Press. Anna Matteo adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

lockdown –n. the confinement of people to a restricted area for a temporary period as a security measure

gracefully –adv. moving in a smooth and attractive way

warm-up –n. the act or an instance of preparing for a performance or a more strenuous activity

pose –n. to hold or cause to hold a special position of the body

pride –n. a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/12/0557/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/12/0557/VOA慢速英语听力Sun, 11 Apr 2021 21:57:37 UTC
<![CDATA[Immigrants with Temporary Status Grow Roots in US]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/12/0556/

Irma Chavez is a married mother of four who leads a business networking program in the United States. The marketing specialist is based in the small city of Springdale, Arkansas. It is a long way from her life as a housekeeper in California years ago. It is even further away from her childhood working in El Salvador's coffee fields.

Chavez' path in America was possible because of a U.S. immigration law designed to help people who flee disaster or armed conflict. If they are coming from one of several candidate countries, they can receive what is called Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. TPS permits them to live and work in the U.S. legally.

Former president Donald Trump sought to limit the program by cutting several countries from the list, including El Salvador. Current U.S. President Joe Biden, however, supports a proposal to expand the program. The legislation would give Chavez and hundreds of thousands of people like her a chance to become American citizens.

About 410,000 live and work in the U.S. under the TPS program. Some feared that they might be sent back to their homelands during Trump's term. Many have not lived in their home countries since they were children.

Now, these immigrants, and others, are hopeful that Congress will pass a bill that could permit them to remain in the U.S. permanently. The bill would establish an eight-year pathway to American citizenship for about 11 million undocumented immigrants and others in the country legally under TPS.

Chavez, who is 44 years old, has been renewing her TPS for 20 years. The new bill could end fears that she might be deported without her children. It also would permit her to travel more easily to see her mother and sister in her Salvadoran hometown.

"We really hope everything is going to change in our favor now," Chavez said. "We are good people. We work. We do our taxes. We pay our taxes."

The Department of Homeland Security decides what countries to add to or remove from the TPS program. There are currently 12 countries on the list, including this year's additions of Myanmar and Venezuela.

Though temporary, a country's TPS status can be renewed by U.S. officials and has been repeatedly. For example, more than half of TPS holders are from El Salvador, which became part of the program after a 2001 earthquake. Thousands continue to leave the country each year to escape its high rate of violent crime and unemployment.

Giving TPS holders permanency could move many to buy homes and invest in American businesses, said Manuel Orozco. He is director of the Center for Migration and Economic Stabilization at the organization Creative Associates International.

Orozco said it would help these immigrants strengthen their economic roots, which would also help the U.S. economy.

Back in El Salvador

Irma Chavez' sister Iris Franco still lives in El Salvador. The mother of four makes and sells bread near the large city of Santa Ana in El Salvador. She uses a bicycle to transport her products to buyers. Franco's oldest child is studying to be a doctor. She is the first in her family to go to college.

Neither Franco nor Chavez finished high school. They both worked as children while their mother sold tamales to survive.

In 1994, the family agreed Chavez would travel north to stay with family members in Los Angeles and work for three years. She would save up money and come back.

It did not happen as they planned. Chavez got married and had children. But the money she promised to send back home always arrived. And the amounts she could send rose as her earnings rose over the years. Now, she is helping her sister pay the costs of medical school.

Last year, Salvadorans sent nearly $6 billion home to family members.

People with the temporary status often hold higher-paying jobs than those without legal documents. So they are sometimes able to send more help to their families, said Jesse Acevedo. He is an expert on international migration with the University of Denver in Colorado.

Home in Arkansas

In Arkansas, Chavez leads a business networking group that she hopes will become Springdale's first Latino chamber of commerce. She and her sister also created a nonprofit organization to help children from their neighborhood in El Salvador. It provides students with school supplies and a gift and party every Christmas.

For Chavez, it was worrisome when the Trump administration announced it would cancel the TPS program for El Salvador.

"I learned a lot from that, that we're not safe in this country unless we are citizens," she said.

If the proposal now in Congress becomes law, all her immigration worries might finally be over.

I'm Jill Robbins. And I'm Alice Bryant.

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

Words in This Story

housekeeper - n. a person whose job is to do the cooking, cleaning, et cetera, in a house

tamale - n. a Mesoamerican food that consists of seasoned ground meat or beans rolled in cornmeal, wrapped in a corn husk, and steamed

legal - n. of or relating to the law

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/12/0556/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/12/0556/VOA慢速英语听力Sun, 11 Apr 2021 21:56:52 UTC
<![CDATA[How Will Colleges Evaluate Students during Pandemic?]]>Dan Friedell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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0602/

When schools around the U.S. closed starting in March 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions, more American students than usual received low grades.

Now, many people are wondering: How will colleges and universities consider promising students who had trouble in school?

Information gathered by the Reuters news agency shows that the number of very low grades increased by two or three times in some places. School closures and the move to internet classes affected all grade levels in U.S. schools.

Reuters looked at schools in big cities like Chicago, and in smaller places like Carlsbad, California. Schools in all areas were affected by the move to teaching by video, or distance learning. But communities where people are poor and most students are minorities appeared to be affected the most.

Fairfax County, Virginia, is a large school system outside of Washington, D.C. A report showed that the largest increase in failing grades in Fairfax came from students who did not grow up speaking English and those with learning problems.

Grades drop compared to a year earlier

In Carlsbad, the number of Fs, the lowest grade possible, increased three times in the first half of the current school year compared to the same time the year before.

In the school system that includes Las Vegas, Nevada, 13 percent of all grades were Fs, compared to six percent the year before.

Many states offer tests to understand the progress of their students. The same test is given to every student in each grade. The results of those tests in North Carolina have not been good. More than half of the students who took exams in math and biology received a rating of "not proficient."

The math examination given to students in 9th grade resulted in 66.4 percent of students getting the "not proficient" rating. A year ago 48.2 percent received that rating.

Jonathan Plucker is a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. He said it may take two years to make up the gap in learning.

"If we don't find ways to help them start to catch up, these gaps are going to get bigger," he said.

How will colleges rate students?

Many school systems around the U.S. are expecting to receive increased money from the federal government in the coming years. Some of the money will pay for internet learning, after-school and summer programs. Schools hope that students will go back to classes in person, get extra help and improve their grades.

But what about those students who will be applying to college this year or next?

Older high school students, like those who will be graduating in 2022, may no longer have grades colleges will like. Some high schools even changed the way they give grades. Classes where the best students once received an A grade have changed to what is known as "pass/fail." This hurts students who did well in those classes because they cannot show colleges a good letter grade at the end of the term.

Some strong universities in the U.S. also decided they would not require students to take the SAT, ACT or Advanced Placement tests. Many group tests were canceled when the coronavirus restrictions barred large events.

Those schools are now considered "test-optional." Some of them include universities like New York University, Colgate University and Harvard University.

So how can a college evaluate a student without traditional grades and test scores?

'Standards and expectations'

Eric Hoover writes about college admissions for The Chronicle of Higher Education. He said universities are getting used to the idea of making "adjustments and allowances" for the many things that are missing from students' high school transcripts.

In addition, he said, top colleges "have had to loosen all kinds of rules and standards and expectations this year."

That is because qualified students could not show records that had letter grades for every class.

About a year ago, a project organized by the Harvard Graduate School of Education helped the heads of admissions from 300 colleges and universities say what they "care about in this time of crisis." It was called Making Caring Common.

The document says students should be sure to let the admissions office know about the problems they faced during the pandemic. Universities said they understand that many after-school activities were canceled. They also know that students may have had to take a job or help care for a sick family member.

Some of the schools that signed on to this document were American University, Caltech, Hamilton College, Johns Hopkins, The University of Chicago and the University of North Carolina.

Lasting effects

Hoover and others at the Chronicle of Higher Education spent a lot of time writing about the way admissions officers thought about students who would be graduating early in the pandemic. Those students have now been accepted to college. Now, universities are considering the next group of students. He said they will be affected by the pandemic's "long tail."

"So, students might feel like they have to make up for lost time when they finally get back to in-person learning, either this spring or in the fall, but I think colleges are not expecting students to leap over the moon."

When VOA contacted a number of universities to discuss how they will consider future students' grades, they chose not to answer.

Even with the problems of the last year, Hoover said colleges want to see that students found a way to take on difficult projects. Also, he said, they should not give up on getting good grades. That is because colleges may be "test optional, but no one's going grade optional."

Without a lot of normal activities like sports, theater and music, colleges are making decisions about students based on how seriously they take their studies.

"Colleges are often impressed with students, who in addition to getting great grades, particularly in the subjects that they plan to study in college and major in, but also take those interests outside the classroom, right? Into their community, into other kinds of contexts."

The pandemic may have caused colleges to change how they judge students. But they still want students who take learning seriously and will do well in the university setting.

I'm Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. Reuters and the Associated Press contributed material. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Has the pandemic affected your grades? What are you doing about it? Tell us in the Comments Section and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

proficient –adj. skilled or good at doing something

gap –n. a difference between two people, groups or kinds of things

optional –adj. available by choice but not required

adjustment –n. a small change that improves or makes something work better

allowance –n. the act of thinking about or including something when you make a plan

transcript –n. an official record of a student's grades

standards –n. (often pl.) a level of quality or requirements that are considered acceptable or desirable

leap –v. to jump

particularly –adv. more than usual; especially

context –n. the situation in which something happens; the group of conditions that exist where and when something happens

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0602/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0602/VOA慢速英语听力Sat, 10 Apr 2021 22:02:52 UTC
<![CDATA[Words and Their Stories - 'Climbing the Ladder' to Success]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0600/

And now, Words and Their Stories, from VOA Learning English.

On this program, we explore words and expressions in American English.

Today we talk about a tool for reaching high places – a ladder.

Ladders are made from two long pieces of wood, metal, or rope with a series of steps, called rungs, between them. We climb the rungs to reach higher up.

But we can also climb a different kind of ladder. When we climb the ladder in our job to reach a higher level, we are climbing the ladder of success.

When we speak of a ladder this way, it represents a series of steps or stages that leads to a higher or better position. As you climb the ladder, you become more powerful and more successful.

Take, for example, the corporate ladder:

The website Investopedia defines the term "corporate ladder" as a way of thinking about a company's employment hierarchy. Hierarchy here means the jobs in a corporation that go from the bottom to the top. So, beginning, or entry-level, jobs are the bottom rungs of the ladder and the supervisory positions are the top rungs of the corporate ladder. "Climbing the corporate ladder," then, describes a person's movement higher in a company's leadership.

Some people are very ambitious. They want to get ahead, so they work hard at their career. They think about it seriously and have a plan. Most people who succeed have some level of ambition.

But some people use "climbing the ladder" in a negative way. Let's say on your way up the ladder of success you step on others or try to push them off their ladders. This might mean you are so ambitious that you forget to treat people well. Getting ahead in your job is the only thing you see as you climb up your ladder.

However, as some people climb, they reach down and help up those on the lower rungs. Or, if someone on a rung above them is having trouble, they help them.

You can use the expression "climb the ladder" with or without the word "success."

Now, let's listen to these two friends as they use this expression.

Hey, how are you? I haven't heard from you in such a long time!

I've been good! I've been taking a lot of online classes. So, I just finished a business degree.

Good for you! I've been spending too much time at home watching Netflix.

Well, that can be fun too. But I have some career goals that I need to meet by the end of the year.

You are way more ambitious than me. I'm not really interested in climbing any career ladders.

You're on your own. I have older parents to take care of. So, for me climbing a few more rungs on the ladder means more money and more security.

That is such a good point. But you still need to have fun. Why don't we celebrate your new degree with a hike in the mountains this weekend?

That sounds perfect!

If knowing English helps you move up the ladder in your career, keep coming back to VOA Learning English!

Until next time … I'm Anna Matteo.

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

stage –n. a point or period in the growth or development of something; a step in a series or process

hierarchy –n. a system in which people or things are ordered in a series of levels with different purposes and importance

entry-level –adj. at the lowest level, the level of someone just starting a job or career

ambition –n. a desire to be successful, powerful or famous

career –n. a job or profession that someone has for a long time

negative –adj. not good, not wanted

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

hike –n. a long walk, especially for pleasure or exercise, often in a natural place

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0600/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0600/VOA慢速英语听力Sat, 10 Apr 2021 22:00:04 UTC
<![CDATA[Technology Helps Explain Mystery of Crosses at Israeli Holy Site]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0558/

Israeli researchers say technology may have solved a mystery about markings at one of Christianity's holiest places.

The markings are thousands of crosses carved into the walls of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The building is one of the world's oldest Christian religious centers. It was long thought that the markings were graffiti created by religious travelers, called pilgrims, who visited the church in the past.

But imaging technology completed during a renovation project suggests that the markings were likely part of a more organized effort. Researchers used three-dimensional (3D) imaging technology in an effort to find out how old the markings are. The researchers say the process showed that the crosses likely date back to the 15th century.

Amit Re'em is an archaeologist working with Israel's Antiquities Authority. He told Reuters that examinations of the images showed the depths and details of the markings were very similar, suggesting that only a few people had carved the crosses.

"Maybe two or three hand artists made these crosses," Re'em said. He added: "So it's not graffiti, it's something more organized."

Re'em suggested that pilgrims visiting the Jerusalem church probably paid artists to create the crosses in their name. "You pay something to this special artist and he carved for you, for the benefit of your soul and your relatives' souls," he said.

The markings represented special crosses "in the most sacred place for Christianity on Earth," Re'em added. More research is to be carried out on the markings in an effort to confirm the latest findings.

Father Samuel Aghoyan is an Armenian official at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He told Reuters he thinks the new research can help the church, especially as it struggles with COVID-19 restrictions.

"Now there are no pilgrims here, (but) still their spirit is here, we know, I believe in that," he said.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Tommy Walker reported this story for VOA News. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for Learning English, with additional information from The Associated Press. 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

carve – v. to make an object, shape or pattern by cutting wood, stone, etc.

graffiti n. pictures or words painted or drawn on a wall, building or something else

imaging –n. the process of creating and showing pictures on a computer

renovate – v. to repair and decorate an old building

three-dimensional (3D) – adj. having or appearing to have length, depth and height

antiquitiesn. items from the ancient past

benefit – n. a helpful or good effect

soul n. the part of a person that is not their body, which some people believe continues to exist after they die

sacred – adj. relating to religion or considered to be holy

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0558/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0558/VOA慢速英语听力Sat, 10 Apr 2021 21:58:12 UTC
<![CDATA[US Builds Case against Oath Keepers Leader Over January 6 Attack]]>VOA慢速英语如果想下载文章的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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0556/

United States government lawyers have charged about half of the 800 rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6.

Among those charged are 12 members of the Oath Keepers. It is one of the largest anti-government militia groups in the United States. Eight men and four women have been charged with plotting to use force to block President Joe Biden's presidential victory.

Kelly Meggs is one Oath Keeper being charged. Meggs is the head of the Oath Keeper's in Florida. She is accused of planning the attack with the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters, other militia groups.

Grayden Young is another member of the Oath Keepers. He is accused of receiving weapons and military training for himself and others. A third member, Kelly Watkins, is accused of finding people to join the January 6 attack. "I need you fighting-fit by inauguration," she told one person.

The 12 Oath Keepers face five criminal charges, from conspiracy to obstruction of an official government process. The obstruction charge carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

One person missing from prosecution is Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers. Prosecutors appear to be building a conspiracy case against him.

Aitan Goelman is a lawyer and former federal prosecutor. He said the government might not have enough evidence to charge Rhodes.

"So far, they haven't provided any evidence that Rhodes was part of a conspiracy, which is an agreement to storm the Capitol," Goelman said. "Maybe they have that. Maybe that's forthcoming."

Jimmy Gurulé is also a former federal prosecutor. He said the government is slowly building a case against Rhodes. To charge Rhodes with conspiracy, there needs to be evidence he agreed with his followers to carry out the attack.

"Rhodes doesn't have to be in the Capitol building participating in the siege of the Capitol building. All he has to do is agree," Gurulé said.

In recent court documents on the 12 charged Oath Keepers, prosecutors have released communications related to January 6.

Prosecutors have released more details of Rhodes' communications with other members of the Oath Keepers. They made public a 97-second telephone call between Rhodes and Meggs nine minutes before she and other militia groups entered the Capitol. Prosecutors would not give any details of the call, but said it contains "substantial evidence" of a conspiracy to overturn the election.

Additionally, Rhodes took part in online discussions through the Signal app. It is a communications program through which Oath Keepers would secretly talk, or chat, with each other. In one chat, he told his followers what tools to bring on January 6, including flashlights, and safety coverings for their hands and head. He advised them not to bring guns.

Although Rhodes never entered the Capitol building, he messaged orders to his followers through Signal.

"Come to South Side of Capitol on steps," he wrote in one message.

He later posted a photo of the southeast side of the Capitol. He then posted the message, "South side of US Capitol. Patriots pounding on doors(.)"

Around the same time, Meggs and other rioters forced themselves into the building through the building's east side.

Gurulé called the Signal posts "very incriminating."

He said it shows Rhodes had knowledge of events as they were happening, and was advising his followers on what to do.

At a Republican gathering in Texas last month, Rhodes called the charges against the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys a "persecution campaign." He said they were at the Capitol to provide security to Trump supporters.

"I might go to jail soon," he said. "Not for anything I actually did, but for made-up crimes."

I'm Mario Ritter Jr.

Masood Farivar reported this story Voice of America. Dan Novak adapted it for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

inauguration –n. a formal ceremony introducing someone, such as a newly elected official, to office

prosecutor- n. - a lawyer who represents the side in a court case that accuses a person of a crime and who tries to prove that the person is guilty

coordinate- v. to make arrangements so that two or more people or groups of people can work together properly and well

conspiracy- n. a secret plan made by two or more people to do something that is harmful or illegal

obstruction n. the act of making it difficult for something to happen or move forward

forthcoming- adj. appearing, happening, or arriving soon

substantial- adj. strongly made

incriminate- v. to cause (someone) to appear guilty of or responsible for something (such as a crime)

persecute- v. to treat (someone) cruelly or unfairly especially because of race or religious or political beliefs

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0556/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0556/VOA慢速英语听力Sat, 10 Apr 2021 21:56:59 UTC
<![CDATA[Cyprus' Cheese Gets Protection from the European Union]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0555/

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus is now the only country that can sell its famous halloumi cheese in the European Union.

Halloumi is a cheese made from goat, sheep and cow's milk. It is salty, feels like rubber and is usually cooked: fried or grilled.

Halloumi is very popular in Europe and around the world. Yearly cheese exports are worth at least $267 million. Farmers call the cheese "white gold."

Because of this popularity, foreign cheese makers have tried to sell their own cheese using the halloumi name. Cypriots argue that foreign producers' halloumi is inauthentic.

But later this month, the European Union is recognizing halloumi with its Protected Destination of Origin (PDO). This means only Cypriot producers will be able to market the cheese in Europe under the halloumi name. Cyprus is involved in 80 court cases against foreign producers who call their cheese "halloumi."

George Petrou oversees Petrou Bros. Dairy Products. The company makes about 25 percent of Cyprus' halloumi exports. He says the cheese is a Cypriot invention that dates back to 1500.

"Unfortunately in recent years many countries tried to copy us," he said. Using the halloumi name for other kinds of cheese "misleads consumers," he added.

Starting in 2024, at least half of the cheese will need to be goat and sheep's milk. The rest can be cow's milk.

The EU registration permits the northern part of Cyprus to export its halloumi, or "hellim" in Turkish, to Europe. Northern Cyprus is ethnically Turkish and has had a separate government since 1974. Turkey is the only country in the world to recognize Northern Cyprus. Before the PDO, Northern Cypriot producers could only export hellim to Turkey.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades praised the agreement as "historic." He said the agreement gives the country an economic boost that will help both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

He added, "It's a strong message...that I'm sending to Turkish Cypriots about all the benefits we can reap from the protections that the European Union can offer."

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Menelaos Hadjicostis reported this story for the Associated Press and Michele Kambas reported this story for Reuters. Dan Novak adapted it for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

inauthentic- adj. - not real, accurate, or sincere : not authentic

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

mislead- n. to cause (someone) to believe something that is not true

consumer- n. a person who buys goods and services

boost v. to increase the force, power, or amount of (something)

benefit- n. - a good or helpful result or effect

reap- v. to get (something, such as a reward) as a result of something that you have done

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0555/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/11/0555/VOA慢速英语听力Sat, 10 Apr 2021 21:55:56 UTC
<![CDATA[Ask a Teacher - Buy and Pay]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/10/0601/

This week on Ask a Teacher, we answer a request from a reader in Guinea. Here is the request:

Question:

Dear VOA, I'm Adama from Enta in Guinea. I would like to know the difference between "buy" and "pay." Thanks for your service!

-Adama, Guinea

Answer:

Hello Adama, we are happy to be of service.

I'm also glad that you asked about "buy" and "pay." As a native English speaker, I had never thought about the difference. Because of your question, I learned something new!

Buy vs. pay

Here is what I learned: We can use "buy" or "pay" to talk about using money, but each word has a different focus. The verb "buy" means to get something by paying for it. The verb "pay" means to give money in exchange for goods or services.

Listen to these examples and think about the difference between the two words:

I just bought a used motorbike.
I paid $900 for the motorbike.

The musician bought a Mexican guitar.
She paid for the guitar with her credit card.

Is he going to buy us lunch?
Is he going to pay our bill?

Did you catch the difference? The verb "buy" puts the focus on the thing you are purchasing. The verb "pay" brings attention to the money that is being exchanged. "Pay" can also bring attention to the process. For example, the musician used a credit card to purchase the guitar.

Pay for vs. pay

You may have also noticed that the preposition "for" can appear after the verb "pay." We say "pay for" to talk about a thing or event we give money for and receive at the same time.

But when we use "pay" (without "for"), we are talking about the person or thing we are giving money to. You can pay a person, for example. Or you can pay a bill for goods or services that you already received.

And that's Ask a Teacher for this week.

I'm Alice Bryant.

Alice Bryant wrote this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

glad –adj. feeling pleasure, joy or happiness

focus –n. a main purpose or interest

guitar –n. a musical instrument usually with six strings that is held against the body and played with the fingers or with a pick

bill –n. a document that states how much you owe for a good or service

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/10/0601/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/10/0601/VOA慢速英语听力Fri, 9 Apr 2021 22:01:37 UTC
<![CDATA[AMERICAN STORIES - The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Part One]]>Edgar Allan Poe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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/10/0600/

We present the first of five parts of the short story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," by Edgar Allen Poe. The story was originally adapted and recorded by VOA Learning English.

Paris! It was in Paris during the summer of 1840. There and then, I met a strange and interesting young man named August Dupin. Dupin was the last member of a well-known family, a family which had once been rich and famous. August Dupin, however, was far from rich.

He cared little about money. He had enough to buy necessities -- and a few books. That was all. Just books. With books, he was happy.

In fact, we first met in an old bookstore. A few more chance meetings at such stores followed. Soon, we began to talk.

I was deeply interested in the family history he told me. I was surprised, too, at how much and how widely he had read; more important, the force of his busy mind was like a bright light in my soul. I felt that the friendship of such a man would be, for me, riches without price.

So, I told him how I felt and asked him to come and live with me.

He would enjoy using my many fine books. And I would have the pleasure of company, for I was not happy alone.

We passed the days reading, writing and talking. But Dupin was a lover of the night. So, often, we walked the streets of Paris after dark.

I soon noticed that Dupin had a special way of understanding people. Using it gave him great pleasure. He told me once, with a soft laugh, that he could see through the windows that most men have over their hearts. He could look into their souls.

Then, he surprised me by telling what he knew about my own soul. He knew things about me that I had thought only I could possibly know. At these times, he acted cold and emotionally distant. His eyes looked empty and far away. His voice became high and nervous.

At such times it seemed to me that I saw not just Dupin, but two Dupins -- one who coldly put things together, and another who just as coldly took them apart.

One night we were walking down one of Paris's long, dirty streets. We were quiet, both busy in our own thoughts.

But, suddenly Dupin spoke: "You're right," he said. "He is a very little fellow, that's true, and he would be more successful if he acted in lighter, less serious plays."

"Yes, there can be no doubt of that!" I said.

At first I saw nothing strange in this. Dupin had agreed with me. This, of course, seemed to me quite natural. A few moments passed. Then it hit me. Dupin had not agreed with something I had said. He had agreed directly with my thoughts. I had not spoken a word!

Dupin had read my mind. I stopped walking.

"Dupin," I said, "Dupin, I don't understand. How could you know that I was thinking of…?"

Here, I stopped speaking. If he really had heard my thoughts, he would have to prove it.

And he did. He said, "How did I know you were thinking of Chantilly? You were thinking that Chantilly is too small for the plays in which he acts."

"That is indeed what I was thinking. But, tell me, in Heaven's name, how did you know?"

"It was the fruit-seller," Dupin answered.

"Fruit-seller!?"

"I mean the man who bumped into you as we entered this street. Maybe fifteen minutes ago."

"Oh, yes…I remember, now. A fruit-seller, with a large basket of apples, bumped into me. But what does that have to do with you knowing I was thinking of Chantilly?"

"I will explain. Listen closely now. Let us follow your thoughts from the fruit-seller to the stage actor, Chantilly. Those thoughts must have gone like this: fruit-seller to cobblestones, cobblestones to stereotomy, stereotomy to Epicurus, to Orion, and then to Chantilly."

He continued:

"As we turned onto this street the fruit-seller bumped you. You stepped on some uneven cobblestones. I could see that it hurt your foot.

"You spoke a few angry words to yourself, and continued walking. But you kept looking at the cobblestones in the street, so I knew you were thinking of them.

"Then we came to a small street where they are putting down new street stones. Here your face became brighter. You were looking at these more even stones. And your lips moved. I was sure they formed the word stereotomy, which is the name for how these new stones are cut. Stereotomy takes a large block and divides it evenly into smaller pieces. You will remember that we read about it in the newspaper only yesterday.

"I thought that the word stereotomy must make you think of the old Greek writer and thinker Epicurus. His ideas are also about dividing objects into smaller and smaller pieces called atoms. He argued that the world and everything else are made of these atoms.

"You and I were talking about Epicurus and his ideas, his atoms, recently. We were talking about how much those old ideas are like today's scientific study of the planets and stars. So, I felt sure that, now, as we walked, you would look up to the sky. And you did.

"I looked also at the sky. I saw that the group of stars we call Orion is very bright and clear tonight.

"I knew you would notice this and that you would think about the name Orion.

"Now, keep listening carefully. Only yesterday, in the newspaper, there was a report about the actor Chantilly. The critic did not praise him. And he used a Latin saying that had also been used to describe Orion. So I knew you would put together the two ideas of Orion and Chantilly.

"I saw you smile, remembering the article and the mean words in it.

"Then, I saw you straighten up, as tall as you could make yourself. I was sure you were thinking of Chantilly's size, and especially his height. He is small; he is short. And so I spoke, saying that he is indeed a very little man, this Chantilly, and he would be more successful if he acted in lighter, less serious plays."

I cannot say I was surprised by what Dupin had just reported. My reaction was much bigger than just surprise. I was astonished.

Dupin was right, as right as he could be. Those were in fact my thoughts, my unspoken thoughts, as my mind moved from one thought to the next.

But if I was astonished by this, I would soon be more than astonished. One morning this strangely interesting man showed me once again his unusual reasoning power. We heard that an old woman had been killed by unknown persons. The killer, or the killers, had cut her head off -- and escaped into the night. Who was this killer, this murderer? The police had no answer. They had looked everywhere and found nothing that helped them. They did not know what to do next. And so -- they did nothing. But not Dupin. He knew what to do.

For Teachers

Download activities to help you understand this story here.

Quiz

Now it's your turn to use the words in this story. Do you or any of your friends or family have strong mental abilities? How are those mental abilities expressed? Let us know in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

souln. the spiritual part of a person that is believed to give life to the body and in many religions is believed to live forever

nervousadj. having or showing feelings of being worried and afraid about what might happen

fellown. (informal) a male person

moment(s) – n. a very short period of time

Heavenn. the place where God lives and where good people go after they die, according to some religions

bump(ed) – v. to move into or against someone or something in a sudden and forceful way

stage actorterm. a person who acts in a theater play

cobblestone(s) – n. a round stone used in paving streets

blockn. a solid piece of material that has flat sides and is usually square or rectangular in shape

astonish(ed) – v. to cause a feeling of great wonder or surprise in someone

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/10/0600/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/10/0600/VOA慢速英语听力Fri, 9 Apr 2021 22:00:12 UTC
<![CDATA[New Show Comes at Important Time for Asian Americans]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/10/0559/

New actors just starting off will sometimes claim to have many different skills to be considered for roles in films. The thinking is simple: an actor with more skills should have more offers.

But one Chinese American actor set a clear limit early in her career. Olivia Liang made a promise to herself. She would "never learn martial arts" until someone paid her to do it.

"When I started off in the industry, people would ask me why martial arts was not (wasn't) on my resume," said Liang.

She explains that many people expect Asian actors to have martial arts skills. However, having that ability could typecast an actor. Typecast means always to cast, or assign, a certain kind of actor the same kind of role.

Liang kept her promise. She has learned martial arts as she takes the starring role in The CW Network's new series "Kung Fu." And she got paid to do it.

"Kung Fu" comes from the 1972 series starring David Carradine. It stars Liang as Nicky Shen. While visiting China she joins the Shaolin Temple where she learns Shaolin values and martial arts.

After her teacher is killed, she returns home to find her community unsettled by a local gang. She must use the martial arts skills she learned to protect her neighborhood and family. Soon she discovers that she is being targeted by the same killer responsible for her teacher's death.

The CW network is based in the United States and is known for superhero shows. However, Liang says "Kung Fu" is different.

"Nicky is heroic, but she doesn't see herself as a hero," explained Liang. "She sees bad things happening and feels like she needs to do something about it."

The series has mostly Asian American actors. Also, the showrunner and executive producer in charge of the show is Christina M. Kim, an Asian American. The showrunner has creative control over a program.

"I'm so excited that I get to give some people this opportunity to shine," said Kim.

When Kim watched the first camera test for the show, she remembered thinking: "I've never seen the screen filled with Asian American faces like this is."

Kim says the show has five writers of Asian ancestry. Half of the writers are also women. Kim says this is usually not the case. "Usually, it's just me and one other woman in a room."

Playing Nicky's father, Jin, is actor Tzi Ma. He says it is wonderful to have so many people with Asian ties working on the show. The people making creative decisions on the show, he says, actually know the Asian experience.

"Not only is there representation on screen, but we back it up from our writer's room to all our guest directors," said Ma. He added that it is something he has never seen in his long career as an actor.

Ma hopes the authenticity of the series will help to change the public view of Asians. Currently hate crimes against Asian Americans are on the rise.

The Asian American community is also paying attention -- not only to see their stories on television but to see how they are told.

Valerie Soe is a professor in the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University. She hopes the show's producers and writers will be careful with what imagery is presented to viewers.

She thinks the gang storyline could be problematic. It could increase the stereotypes "that all Asian men are gangsters" or criminals.

However, Soe says the series is generally a win for her because it gives one more example of an Asian American story. She uses a common expression to describe her feelings: The more the merrier. This means that the more people involved in something, the more fun, or merrier, it will be.

Soe says, "I think not everything's … going to be exactly what we want. But, if you have a lot of different choices, then you don't expect everything from one."

I'm Anna Matteo.

Alicia Rancilio wrote this story for the Associated Press. Anna Matteo adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

role -n. the character played by an actor

martial arts -n. any one of several forms of fighting and self-defense (such as karate and judo) that are widely practiced as sports

resume -n. a short document describing your education, work history, etc., that you give an employer when you are applying for a job

gang -n. a group of criminals

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

guest -n. person who is invited to a place or an event as a special honor

authenticity -n. the state of being true and accurate

stereotype -n. to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same

the more the merrier phase : used to say that more people are welcome or invited to do something

fabulous -adj. very good

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/10/0559/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/10/0559/VOA慢速英语听力Fri, 9 Apr 2021 21:59:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Musicians Raise Money to Feed Neighbors]]>Jill Robbins如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/10/0555/

When Erin Shields sang "Being Alive," a popular song from the Broadway show "Company," the song had extra levels of meaning.

Shields and her husband David Shenton are touring musicians. They could not perform around the world during the coronavirus pandemic. So they broadcast virtual concerts from home to raise money for the Mosaic West Queens Church in New York City.

The concerts brought thousands of dollars to the church to help feed hungry people living in the neighborhood. They also gave the two musicians a chance to continue their artistic lives.

It began when they saw the long lines of people waiting for food outside the church near their home. Several of their friends had lost jobs after Broadway theaters closed. And they felt the need to help.

"When your entire industry shuts down, you think, 'well, how are we going to do this?'" Shields said. "Seeing the people in line ..., you go, 'I can be that person and that could be my family member.'"

In September, they volunteered at the church to give away boxes of food to families two times a week. As time passed, they felt the need to do more for others during the pandemic.

I don't have much to offer, but

"I thought, I'm not a doctor ... I don't really have much to offer. But then I thought, well, you know, we can perform," said Shields.

She is an opera singer from the American state of Illinois. Her husband Shenton is a British composer, pianist and violinist. And their artistic friends were willing to join for a good cause.

"We have all these connections to Broadway singers outside of their work on Broadway, so we wanted to capitalize on that," Shenton said.

During a recent virtual concert, smiling families, watching on their computers at home, clapped and sang along. Among the performers were Broadway musicians known for their work in shows such as "Hamilton" and "The Little Mermaid," as well as "Tootsie" and "Les Miserables."

Shields sang crowd favorites including "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from "The Wizard of Oz." Shields remembered she had played the part of Dorothy and sang the same song in high school.

A grand piano named Wolfgang

Shenton played a grand piano that he named "Wolfgang Kathryn." It is named for his late mother and her favorite composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

For years, the two have performed at churches in New York. They have sung to older adults and Alzheimer's patients in Illinois. They have taught music to children in Arizona. And they have followed their interest in animal rights by caring for elephants and other wildlife in Zimbabwe.

Shields said volunteering became especially important last year when New York turned into the center of the pandemic. That was the time she could hear the sound of ambulances rushing patients to hospitals throughout the city.

"It's just something my mom always said: 'If you're feeling low, volunteer, give back to other people, because it will make you feel better,'" Shields said. "And it's so true."

I'm Jill Robbins.

Luis Andres Henao and Emily Leshner wrote this story for the Associated Press. Jill Robbins adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

tour - v. to make a journey or trip through an area or place : to make a tour of (something)

virtual – adj. existing or occurring on computers or on the Internet

entire adj. whole

opera n. a kind of performance in which actors sing all or most of the words of a play with music performed by an orchestra

composern. a person who writes music

capitalize on (something)expression. to use (something, such as an event or situation) in a way that helps you; to get an advantage from (something)

clapv. to hit the palms of your hands together usually more than once

mom n. (U.S., informal) a person's mother

What are you doing to help others in your community? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/10/0555/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/10/0555/VOA慢速英语听力Fri, 9 Apr 2021 21:55:04 UTC
<![CDATA[Britain's Prince Philip Dies at 99]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/2236/

Prince Philip, the husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth has died. The royal family said he was 99 years old on Friday.

The Duke of Edinburgh was Prince Philip's official name. He had been by his wife's side as she led the country for 69 years. She has been queen longer than any other ruler in British history.

The British royal family said in a statement, "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh."

"His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."

Philip was born into the royal families of Greece and Denmark. His father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and his mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg. Philip married Elizabeth in 1947.

He helped to bring the British royal family tradition into modern life after World War Two. In Buckingham Palace, the official royal family home, he was said to be the one person the queen could turn to and trust.

'My strength and stay'

"He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years," Elizabeth said in a speech marking the 50th anniversary of their marriage in 1997. "I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know."

Philip spent four weeks in the hospital earlier this year. He received treatment for an infection and had surgery on his heart. He died just two months before he was to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Buckingham Palace and government buildings across Britain lowered their flags. There are no public details about his funeral yet. But the ceremonies are likely be smaller and quieter than usual for royal deaths. That would reflect Philip's well-known dislike of a big production.

At times, Philip was known for comments considered as sexist and racist. The prince also completed more than 20,000 appearances as senior member of the royal family to help British interests at home and around the world. He headed organizations that help others in need and helped raise his four children, including Prince Charles, the heir to the throne. Philip retired from public life in August 2017.

Gave up a military career

A former naval officer, Philip admitted he found it hard to give up his military career to take on the job as the queen's partner. The prince once said to his old friend that his job "first, second and last -- was never to let her [the queen] down."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of Philip, "he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it "remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life."

The British opposition leader Keir Starmer added, "He will be remembered most of all for his extraordinary commitment and devotion to The Queen."

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Michael Holden, William James and Andy Bruce wrote this story for Reuters. Jill Robbins adapted it for Learning English with additional reporting from the Associated Press. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

sorrown. a feeling of sadness or grief caused especially by the loss of someone or something

surgery – n. medical treatment in which a doctor cuts into someone's body in order to repair or remove damaged or diseased parts

heir - n. a person who has the right to become a king or queen

throne - n. the special chair for king or queen

steerv. to control the direction in which something (such as a ship, car, or airplane) moves

monarchyn. a form of government in which a country is ruled by a monarch

vitaladj. extremely important

devotionn. a feeling of strong love or loyalty : the quality of being devoted

What do you think about the death of Prince Philip? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/2236/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/2236/VOA慢速英语听力Fri, 9 Apr 2021 14:36:50 UTC
<![CDATA[Everyday Grammar - Apologies and Prepositions]]>Jill Robbins如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0602/

German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently caused protests with the call for a five-day lockdown over the Easter holiday to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

She reacted to the opposition by apologizing to members of the German parliament: "The mistake is my mistake alone. I ask both the public and you… for forgiveness. "

In an apology, someone takes responsibility for making a mistake. Today, we will look at how we use the verb "apologize" with prepositions and gerunds.

Apologize for (verb +ing)

The most common sentence structure we find with the word "apologize" is: "apologize for (verb +ing)." For example, after an argument with a friend, you might say:

I apologize for being angry last night. Will you forgive me?

It is easy to change this sentence to talk about something you did not do by simply adding the word "not."

I apologize for not coming to your party last weekend. My relatives came to visit.

Apologize for (noun)

The -ing form of a verb is called a gerund. It acts like a noun. We can also use the word "apologize" before a noun, as in this sentence structure: "apologize for (noun)."

Imagine you had to go into a meeting in progress. Then you would say,

I apologize for the rude interruption.

Apologize to (noun)

The third structure you will see with the word "apologize" is "apologize to (noun)." Parents often need to tell their young children to apologize to a friend after a fight.

You should apologize to Sasha. You should not take her toys.

Apologize

Finally, we can use the word "apologize" alone. An internet company made a mistake and sent out this message to their customers:

There has been an error on our part and we apologize.

Do you believe every apology?

Sometimes people say they are sorry but we do not believe they really feel bad for saying or doing the wrong thing. Here is an example from a popular movie of an apology that may not be sincere.

In the comedy film, A Fish Called Wanda, John Cleese plays Archie Leach, and Kevin Kline plays Otto. Otto becomes angry with Archie for saying Otto is crazy. As Otto holds Archie by his feet upside-down from a window, Archie must apologize.

Otto: Now, apologize!

Archie: What me, to you?

Otto: Apologize.

Archie: All right, all right, I apologize.

Otto: You're really sorry.

Archie: I'm really really sorry, I apologize unreservedly.

Otto: You take it back.

Archie: I do… and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future.

Otto: OK

Now, do you really believe Archie means what he is saying?

I'm Jill Robbins.

Jill Robbins wrote this lesson for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

lockdownn. a state of restricted movement put in place as a security measure

sincere adj. having or showing true feelings that are expressed in an honest way

rudeadj, not having or showing concern or respect for the rights and feelings of other people; not polite

unreservedly adv. in an unlimited way

slandern. the act of making a false spoken statement that causes people to have a bad opinion of someone

Have you or someone you know had to apologize lately? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0602/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0602/VOA慢速英语听力Thu, 8 Apr 2021 22:02:18 UTC
<![CDATA[Biden Announces New Gun Control Measures]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0558/

American President Joe Biden announced new measures Thursday aimed at decreasing gun violence, which he called "an epidemic and an international embarrassment."

Two mass shootings in the United States last month killed 18 people. One attack took place at a food store in Boulder, Colorado. The other happened at three businesses in and near Atlanta, Georgia.

Speaking from the White House, Biden said he learned that five more people were killed "just last night" in South Carolina. He told families and survivors of gun violence, "We're absolutely determined to make change."

The Biden plan

Biden said the Justice Department will issue a rule to stop the quickly increasing number of "ghost guns." These guns are often put together from available parts in as little as 30 minutes. They are not registered weapons and often cannot be traced by law enforcement. USA Today reported that ghost guns have been used in at least three recent shootings in California.

The Justice Department is also planning to issue a new rule on a device called a stabilizing brace. The device can make a handgun work more like a rifle, a deadlier firearm. The new rule would make it difficult to register the weapon.

Biden also said the Justice Department will begin issuing yearly reports on illegal sales of firearms.

The president also announced a so-called "red flag" measure. It permits civilians and local law enforcement to seek legal firearms seizures from people they think pose a threat.

"Red flag laws can stop mass shooters before they can act out their violent plans," Biden said.

The president noted that his administration is also investing in local communities to help prevent gun violence. He said that gun violence is severely hurting America's children, including those who do not experience direct involvement.

And, Biden announced his nomination of David Chipman to serve as Director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, or ATF. Chipman worked at the agency for 25 years and is now an advisor to a gun-control organization.

While at ATF, Chipman worked to stop a gun trafficking group that sent illegal firearms from Virginia to New York. He also served on the ATF's special weapons defense team.

Chipman is a gun owner.

Acting directors have headed the ATF for years. If confirmed, Chipman will become the agency's first permanent leader since 2015.

NRA quick to denounce

The National Rifle Association moved quickly to denounce Biden's gun-control measures. The organization said Thursday, "These actions could require Americans to surrender lawful property," adding that states might use the measure to increase firearm seizures. The group said on Twitter, "It's time to STAND and FIGHT!"

John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, praised the administration's new measures as a starting point for dealing with gun violence. The new laws, he said, "begin to make good on President Biden's promise to be the strongest gun safety president in history."

In his speech, Biden noted some limitations of his executive orders. He asked the Senate to immediately pass current bills from the House of Representatives that require background checks and longer waiting periods on gun purchases.

"They have offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, but they have passed not a single federal law to reduce gun violence," Biden said. "Enough prayers. Time for action."

I'm Caty Weaver.

Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

embarrassment - n. the state of feeling foolish in front of others

absolutely - adv. completely or totally (often used to make a statement more forceful)

determine - adj. certain to do something

trace - v. to find out where something came from

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0558/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0558/VOA慢速英语听力Thu, 8 Apr 2021 21:58:31 UTC
<![CDATA[Are America's Communities Disappearing?]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0557/

"Won't you be my neighbor?" is a famous song from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, a popular children's television show.

The show, broadcast for 31 years ending in 2001, sought to teach American children the importance of kindness and understanding towards others. The idea was that strong communities need strong relationships between the people in them.

But fewer and fewer Americans seem to know their neighbors and that may be eroding America's communities.

Marc Dunkelman wrote a book called "The Vanishing Neighbor." In it, he examined how American communities have changed over time.

Dunkelman said most Americans have three levels of relationships: The inner circle includes family and close friends. The middle circle is more casual relationships. People in this circle include neighbors and people in community groups. The outer circle includes people who live far away but share a common interest. Today, people in outer circles are easily found through social media and other forms of technology.

In his book, Dunkelman argued that people spend most of their time and attention on the inner and outer circles. But, he said the middle-circle is necessary to strengthening local communities. Relationships with neighbors are important for debate, hearing different ideas and finding compromise.

Brad Birzer is a professor of history at Hillsdale College in Michigan. He said Americans are now more connected with national communities than with local communities.

"We used to think of the community good as a local thing, and now we tend to think of it as the whole country," he said.

Americans used to have more middle-circle relationships. Face-to-face interaction was unavoidable without cell phones or the internet. People also felt more of an obligation to join community organizations.

Dunkelman argues that modern life has made middle-circle relationships less important. He said globalization, education and more women in the workforce have resulted in fewer middle-circle interactions. He said the weakening of communities has led to political divisions in America.

Americans now have less interaction with others who hold different political opinions. Less interaction with people who voted for the opposite party means "you begin to really be alienated from people who voted for the other side," Dunkelman said.

There are some good results from this change in personal interaction, however. It has become harder for hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan to organize at the local level. Doctors and health experts all over the world have been able to collaborate to deal with the coronavirus health crisis.

However, Americans may be losing what it means to be a good neighbor, as Fred Rogers of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" taught.

Today, society's problems like homelessness or poverty are not seen as local problems to solve, but national problems.

Doing good for a neighbor is healthy "not just for our neighbor, but for ourselves as well," Dunkelman said. Learning how to be a good citizen can be lost, he said, "when we defer the problem to somebody else."

I'm Caty Weaver.

Dora Mekouar reported this story for Voice of America. Dan Novak adapted it for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

erode- v. to gradually destroy

casual- adj. not formal; having some interest but not a lot ; not serious

unavoidable- n. not able to be prevented or avoided

obligation- n. something that you must do because of a law, rule, promise, etc

division- n. a situation in which different groups, countries, etc., have different opinions, beliefs, or ways of life that separate them from each other

alienate- v. - to cause (someone) to feel that she or he no longer belongs in a particular group, society, etc.

defer –v. to permit someone else to decide or choose something

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0557/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0557/VOA慢速英语听力Thu, 8 Apr 2021 21:57:26 UTC
<![CDATA[Bars that Do Not Serve Alcohol Gain in Popularity]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0556/

Some new bars around the world seem to be missing something once central to their existence: alcohol.

The bars are trying to satisfy an increasing number of people who want to go out and have a good time with friends, but do not want to drink alcohol.

In Tokyo, a bar called 0% Non-Alcohol Experience serves an appealing drink made with wine and fruit, but no alcohol. The alcohol is removed from the wine in the manufacturing process.

In Austin, Texas, people gathered recently at the Sans Bar and drank alcohol-free beers and mixed drinks called watermelon mockaritas. It is similar to a margarita, a drink made with the alcohol called tequila.

These bars without alcohol are rare, but they are not new.

The United States saw its first such places in the 1800s during what was called the temperance movement. Its aim was to get people to reduce their use of alcohol. The movement led to a national ban on alcohol sales that was in effect from 1920 to 1933.

Chris Marshall is the owner of Sans Bar. He stopped drinking alcohol 14 years ago and worked in the field of drug abuse treatment.

He said most of the people who visit Sans Bar are not trying to stop drinking completely. "A lot of people just want to drink less."

Sondra Prineaux is one such customer. "It's just easier," she said. "I don't have to worry about leaving my car here and getting an Uber home."

And, she noted: "I'll wake up without a headache."

Head pain is a common reaction to a night of drinking alcohol. Drinkers also might wake up feeling very weak or sick to their stomach. All these conditions are signs of what is called a hangover. Many people do not like to drink as a result.

Tory Pratt founded Pratt Standard, a company in Washington, D.C. She makes liquid flavorings people add to alcohol so they can make cocktails. While she makes her products with alcohol in mind, a lot of customers buy her products to use without it.

She said some people use her company's ginger liquid mixed with water if they have a sick stomach. "It can be really great for settling the stomach," she said.

The ginger product can be mixed with hot water that can ease throat pain.

She noted that many people are working from home because of COVID-19. So, she said, a special drink even without alcohol is a good way to separate the work day from the rest of the night.

"I know that, like, in the pandemic a lot of people have leaned towards alcohol as a way to separate, you know, work from life. When you're working at home, it's really, really hard to have that separation."

A drink maker called Seedlip carries products with different natural flavors that take the place of alcohol in a cocktail. Another, called Ritual Zero Proof, makes products that are substitutes for traditional alcohols like gin, whiskey and tequila.

Douglas Watters owns Spirited Away, a beverage store in New York. In the past, he said there were very few choices for people who did not want to drink alcohol.

But now, Watters said, "I have the wonderful problem of too many great options."

Low-alcohol products still make up a small number of sales in countries like the U.S., Germany, Brazil and Japan. However, while alcohol sales fell five percent in those countries in 2020, sales of non-alcohol drinks rose by one percent.

Brandy Rand works for IWSR, a company that researches drinks. She said people are trying to be healthier. She noted the popularity of a public health campaign called "Dry January," in which people try to remain alcohol-free for the month. The campaign began in Europe in 2013.

She said even though sales are small, people around the world are buying low- and no-alcohol drinks two to three times faster than traditional drinks with alcohol.

It is not completely clear why people are more open to reducing their use of alcohol lately. Some people are training for physical activity, others are trying to lose weight, some are pregnant. Others just decided they do not want to drink as much.

Joshua James was a bartender for years, making drinks at a traditional bar. But, he opened his own business after being treated for drug and alcohol abuse. The Ocean Beach Café in San Francisco, California does not serve alcohol.

"There's a thousand reasons to not want to drink as much," he said, adding that he wanted to help people who make that choice.

Watters of Spirited Away said the pandemic made him think about changing his drinking behavior.

"There are a lot of people, this past year more than ever, thinking more critically about what they're drinking and how it's making them feel," he said.

Pratt Standard's owner expressed a similar opinion. She said the pandemic fueled desire for new experiences.

"Wine, and doing the same thing over and over again in the evening, it's just not different enough in the middle of a pandemic, and so people are looking for something that you can be really creative with and can really differentiate one night from another. "

Some alcohol-free bars in places like Dublin, Ireland and Berlin, Germany, closed for a time during the pandemic. Their owners are looking forward to finding new customers once people feel safer about going out.

Billy Wynne owns Awake, a store in Denver that sells coffee and alcohol substitutes. He plans to open a no-alcohol bar soon. Wynne says once people understand that they can have fun and feel better at an alcohol-free bar, they will want to return.

"People don't wake up to the negative impact alcohol is having on their life and then change their mind."

I'm Alice Bryant. And I'm Dan Friedell.

Dee-Ann Durbin wrote this story for the Associated Press. Dan Friedell contributed the interview with Tory Pratt and adapted the story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Do you worry about getting a hangover when you drink alcohol? We want to hear from you. Tell us in the Comments Section and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

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

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

alcoholic –n. a person who frequently drinks too much alcohol and is unable to live a normal and healthy life : a person who is affected with alcoholism

flavoring –n. a substance that is added to food or drink to give it a desired taste

cocktail –n. an alcoholic drink that is a mixture of one or more liquors and other ingredients (such as fruit juice)

lean –v. used to describe what someone wants to do, tends to do, or is likely to do

option –n. the opportunity or ability to choose something or to choose between two or more things

variety –n. the quality or state of having or including many different things

evening –n. the last part of the day and early part of the night

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

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0556/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0556/VOA慢速英语听力Thu, 8 Apr 2021 21:56:42 UTC
<![CDATA[Brazil Records 4,000 Daily COVID Deaths for First Time]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0555/

Brazil reported more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths in one day for the first time this week. As the death tolls rise, experts fear that the South American country could pass the United States death total from the coronavirus pandemic later this year.

The total number of deaths recorded by Brazil's health ministry is close to 400,000. The U.S. is the only country with more deaths, at about 555,000. Brazil has two-thirds of the U.S. population.

From the start of the health crisis, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has resisted measures to prevent the spread of the virus like wearing cloth coverings and social distancing. He once called the coronavirus a "small flu."

The country's governors and mayors are reopening parts of the economy while the healthcare system is at risk of collapsing. Hospitals are overcrowded. COVID-19 patients are using more than 90 percent of hospital beds in intensive care units for the sickest patients.

Adding to the problem, Brazil also has many different COVID variants. And this week, a judge ruled that schools could reopen in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian officials, however, are claiming life will be back to normal soon. "We think that probably two, three months from now Brazil could be back to business," said Economy Minister Paulo Guedes.

Miguel Lago is the director for the Institute for Health Policy Studies in Brazil. He said reopening is a mistake that would bring even higher death numbers. He also said local political leaders fear the president's supporters will try to stop any policies like social distancing from going into effect.

"The fact is," Lago said, "the anti-lockdown narrative of President Jair Bolsonaro has won."

While the U.S. is working to make vaccines available to all adults by April 19, Brazil has been slow to vaccinate its people. Our World in Data, an online research site, says just 3 percent of the Brazilian population has been fully vaccinated.

Miguel Nicolelis is a Brazilian doctor and professor at Duke University. He compared the situation in Brazil to Japan's nuclear disaster.

"It's a biological Fukushima," he said.

Both Nicolelis and Christovam Barcellos, a researcher at Brazilian medical institute Fiocruz, are warning that Brazil will soon pass the U.S. in total and daily death numbers.

The respected Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington created a model to predict COVID deaths in Brazil through June. It says Brazil may even break the U.S. seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths as soon as next week.

The model also predicts Brazil to have 563,000 deaths by the start of the summer. By then, the U.S. is expected to record 600,000 deaths from the virus.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Pedro Fonseca reported this story for Reuters and Mauricio Savarese reported this story for The Associated Press. Dan Novak adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

toll- n. - the number of people who are killed or injured in an accident, disaster, war, etc.

biological- adj. of or relating to biology or to life and living things

lockdown- n. an emergency measure of keeping people in a secure place to avoid or prevent danger

narrative n. a story that is told or written

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0555/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/09/0555/VOA慢速英语听力Thu, 8 Apr 2021 21:55:07 UTC
<![CDATA[US Supreme Court Backs Google in Major Copyright Case]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/08/0601/

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled for Google this week in a major copyright case involving software company Oracle.

The two American technology companies were in a dispute over several thousand lines of computer code written by Oracle. The company said that Google had violated U.S. copyright law by copying the computer commands within one of its software products.

Google added the Oracle code to its own while developing the Android operating system. The code was used to create an application software interface, or API, for Android. APIs are the pieces of code that permit programs and apps to work together.

Software developers have created millions of apps for Android. The operating system now powers more than 70 percent of the world's mobile devices.

The Android system was released in 2007. To build it, Google wrote millions of lines of new computer code. But it also used about 11,500 lines of code copyrighted as part of Oracle's Java programming language. Oracle brought legal action against Google for violating its copyright and sought billions of dollars in payment.

In a 6 to 2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling that Google's use of Oracle's code in Android was a copyright violation. Instead, the court ruled that Google's copying was lawfully permitted as "fair use."

In his opinion for the court's majority, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that Google's copying "took only what was needed" and was "transformative." This is a word the court has used to describe copying "that adds something new and important."

The legal dispute had continued in several courts for 10 years. Google won the first case when a judge rejected Oracle's copyright claim. But that ruling was overturned by an appeals court. A jury then sided with Google, but an appeals court again disagreed.

Google had argued that it did not copy a computer program, but only used elements of the Java language in the development of its Android API. It added that using code in such a way had become common in the technology industry and that the practice was good for technical progress.

Google further explained that there can be no copyright protection for the purely operational, noncreative computer code it used.

In a statement after the ruling, Oracle's executive vice president and general legal counsel, Dorian Daley, strongly disagreed with those arguments. She said Google "stole Java" and spent 10 years pressing its legal case "only as a monopolist can."

"This behavior is exactly why (governments) around the world and in the United States are examining Google's business practices," Daley added.

Google's senior vice president for global relations, Kent Walker, praised the court's ruling. "The decision gives legal certainty to the next generation of developers whose new products and services will benefit" the public, he said.

Justice Clarence Thomas gave a dissenting opinion for the court that was joined by Justice Samuel Alito. The opinion said the court should have supported Oracle's copyright. It called the ruling "anything but fair" and noted that Apple and Microsoft had not copied to create their mobile operating systems.

Thomas wrote that the decision will harm competition. He argued the ruling will make it easier for "companies to "freely copy libraries of declaring code whenever it is more convenient than writing their own." This, Thomas argues, will leave companies less willing to heavily invest as Oracle did to create "well-organized libraries" to compete with Android.

Matt Schruers is president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association. He praised the Supreme Court's ruling and said an Oracle victory would have harmed competition. He said that permitting fair use of programming elements will help technology companies create "competing, interoperable" products.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for Learning English, based on reports from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. 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

copyright – n. the legal right to be the only one to reproduce, publish, and sell a book, musical recording, etc., for a certain period of time

code n. a set of rules used to instruct computers how to behave or do things

app – n. a program that runs on a computer or mobile phone that performs a special function

transformative – adj. causing a major change to something

monopoly – n. complete ownership or control of something

benefit n. a helpful or good effect

convenient – adj. suitable for a purpose or need

interoperable – adj. able to be used together effectively

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/08/0601/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/08/0601/VOA慢速英语听力Wed, 7 Apr 2021 22:01:58 UTC
<![CDATA[EU Agency: 'Possible Link' Between Blood Clots, AstraZeneca Vaccine]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/08/0558/

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said Wednesday it has found a "possible link" between the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and rare cases of blood system blockages, known as blood clots.

The EMA announcement is the latest setback for a low-cost vaccine that was once called a "vaccine for the world." The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for emergency use in over 100 countries including Britain and the European Union. The vaccine is also a large part of the United Nations COVAX program to provide COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries.

The agency advised that blood system blockages should be listed as "side effects" of the vaccine. It said women under the age of 60 represent most of the cases of blood clots reported so far. The problems, the agency said, happened within two weeks of vaccination. The EMA said it was not "possible to identify specific risk factors."

EMA chief Emer Cooke spoke to reporters Wednesday. She said the risk of death from COVID is much greater than the risk of death from these side effects.

The EMA and the World Health Organization have said repeatedly that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective.

Setbacks from the start

Early in the pandemic, the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed with Britain's University of Oxford, was considered a leading candidate against the coronavirus. It costs much less than other vaccines. It also does not require extreme cold storage, making it easier to use in countries with limited resources.

Last September, the company temporarily suspended the trials of the vaccine after a volunteer in Britain developed inflammation in her spine. It was later found to be unrelated to the vaccine but led to a long delay in the United States.

In March, about 13 European countries suspended their use of AstraZeneca vaccine after reports of possible blood clots linked to the shot. Most restarted with some age restrictions after the EMA said countries should continue to use the vaccine.

A week later, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a U.S. health agency, released an unusual statement saying that "AstraZeneca might have included outdated information from that trial, which may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data."

On Wednesday, the Reuters news agency reported that EU health ministers planned to meet after the EMA's announcement.

Even officials in Asia said they were waiting to hear the EMA's decision. South Korea had temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine in people 60 and younger. The country's health officials said Wednesday that they would also pause a plan to vaccinate teachers that was to begin on Thursday, while awaiting the results of the EMA's review.

Dr. Peter English was a former head of the British Medical Association's Public Health Medicine Committee. He said questions over the vaccine could have serious consequences around the world.

English told the Associated Press, "We can't afford not to use this vaccine if we are going to end the pandemic."

I'm Caty Weaver.

Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

setback - n. a problem that makes progress more difficult

specific - adj. precise or exact

factor - n. one of the thing that causes something to happen

inflammation - n. a condition in which a part of your body becomes, red, swollen and painful

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/08/0558/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/08/0558/VOA慢速英语听力Wed, 7 Apr 2021 21:58:54 UTC
<![CDATA[Sophia the Robot Now Eyeing Music]]>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:
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/08/0555/

Sophia is a robot with many abilities. She speaks, jokes, sings and even makes art. Now, the next step in the robot's career could be that of a musician.

Sophia is working with human musicians on several musical works as part of a project called Sophia Pop, said David Hanson.

Hanson is the head of Hanson Robotics and Sophia's creator.

"We're so excited about Sophia's career as an artist," he said.

Hanson has been developing robots for the past 25 years. He believes realistic-looking robots can connect with people and assist in industries such as healthcare and education.

Sophia is the most famous robot creation from Hanson Robotics. She can copy human facial expressions, hold conversations and recognize people. In 2017, she was given Saudi Arabian citizenship, becoming the world's first robot citizen.

Hanson said he imagined Sophia "as a creative artwork herself, that could generate art."

In March, a digital artwork Sophia created jointly with Italian artist Andrea Bonaceto sold for $688,888 in the form of a non-fungible token, or NFT.

An NFT is something that only exists in the digital world. It is based on a technology called blockchain, which is also used with digital currency systems known as cryptocurrency.

Blockchain is an online list containing information that can be used and shared within a large network open to the public. The technology permits pieces of information to be checked and stored safely.

An NFT can be attached to a piece of digital artwork or other things existing in digital form. The NFT can be used to provide proof that the pieces are authentic. This is what permits digital artwork to be bought and sold. While anyone can view the work, the buyer has official ownership rights over the objects.

The digital work that sold for $688,888 is titled "Sophia Instantiation." It is a 12-second video file which shows Bonaceto's portrait changing into Sophia's digital painting. Along with the digital file is the physical artwork painted by Sophia.

The buyer, a digital artwork collector and artist known as 888, later sent Sophia a photo of his painted arm. The robot then added that image to her knowledge and painted more on top of her original piece.

On the social media service Twitter, Sophia described the work as the first NFT shared work between an "AI, a mechanical collective being and an artist-collector."

Sophia's artwork selling as an NFT is part of a growing trend. In March, a digital artwork by artist Beeple sold for nearly $70 million, becoming the costliest digital artwork ever sold.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Zen Soo and Alice Fung reported on this story for the Associated Press. Jonathan Evans adapted this story for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

authentic adj. real or true

generatev. to cause to come into being

mechanical adj. of or relating to machinery

trendn. something that is currently popular or fashionable

]]>
https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/08/0555/https://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/04/08/0555/VOA慢速英语听力Wed, 7 Apr 2021 21:55:23 UTC