VOA Special English - UNSV英语学习频道VOA Special Englishhttp://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/http://www.unsv.com/images/unsv.gifVOA慢速英语即VOA Special English,又叫VOA特别英语,是快速提高听力、纠正发音、改善阅读理解,扩充英语知识的绝佳节目,还被新东方、疯狂英语等培训机构选作核心教材。http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/zh-CNhttp://www.unsv.com60版权所有©2003-2011 UNSV.COM英语学习频道,保留所有权利。Tue, 21 May 2019 15:45:56 UTC<![CDATA[Is Iceland Too Popular for Its Own Good?]]>John Russell如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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A large sign warns people that Iceland's Fjadrárgljúfur canyon is closed to visitors.

Yet many people keep driving down the narrow road to the canyon. A ranger at a roadblock must explain to them why no one can pass: The area cannot support more visitors.

Drivers try to persuade ranger Hanna Jóhannsdóttir into opening the entrance to the canyon. Some offer her money if she agrees to help. They should know that such a bribe will not work.

"Food from people's home country is the most common bribery," said Jóhannsdóttir. She recently turned down a free trip to Dubai in exchange for letting trespassers past the roadblock.

Too many visitors, not enough infrastructure

The problem is that the North Atlantic island nation may be too popular for its own good.

Last year, 2.3 million people visited Iceland, compared with just 600,000 eight years ago. The number of visitors is out of proportion to the infrastructure needed to protect its countryside.

Inga Palsdottir is the head of the national tourism agency Visit Iceland. She said a single film shot or video has often put overlooked places on the map.

The extreme example in Iceland, she said, is the wreckage of a United States Navy airplane. The plane crashed on a black sandy beach in 1973. The seven Americans on the Douglas DC-3 aircraft all survived but the plane wreck was never removed.

"Then someone decided to dance on it and now it's one of the most popular places in the country," said Palsdottir.

Fjadrárgljúfur canyon could be seen in the most recent season of the television program "Game of Thrones." It also was part of a Justin Bieber music video.

The video has been watched over 440 million times on YouTube since 2015. The singer can be seen walking on plant life and bathing in the cold river underneath the canyon's walls.

Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson said it is "a bit too simplistic to blame the entire situation on Justin Bieber." However, he urged famous visitors to consider the effects of their actions.

"Rash behavior by one famous person can dramatically impact an entire area if the mass follows," he told The Associated Press.

Gudbrandsson added, "In Justin Bieber's defense, the canyon did not, at the time he visited, have rope fences and designated paths…"

Over 1 million people have visited the area since the Bieber video was released, the Environment Agency of Iceland estimates. The visitors left deep scars on the country's vegetation. The canyon was closed for all but five weeks this year.

In this photo taken Wednesday, May 1, 2019, Russian tourist Nadia Kazachenok poses for a photograph taken by Mikhail Samarin at the Fjadrárgljúfur.
In this photo taken Wednesday, May 1, 2019, Russian tourist Nadia Kazachenok poses for a photograph taken by Mikhail Samarin at the Fjadrárgljúfur.

Tourists ignore signs

On a foggy morning, Hanna Jóhannsdóttir found footprints on the muddy path leading to the Fjadrárgljúfur canyon. The footprints suggested that someone had jumped the fence overnight.

She predicted that more people would trespass later that day when she left to give a presentation at a community center.

Less than 30 minutes after she left, people began ignoring the fences and signs.

"We came because of Justin Timberlake," said Mikhail Samarin, a tourist from Russia traveling with two other people. They were quick to correct the artist's last name to Bieber.

The three took turns posing for photographs, standing at the edge of an Icelandic cliff.

I'm John Russell.

Egill Bjarnason reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted the report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

ranger – n. the keeper of a forest or protected space

trespasser – n. someone who unlawfully enters someone else's land

proportion – n. the correct relationship between the size, shape, and position of the different parts of something

beach – n. the land near a body of water

rash – adj. done or made quickly and without thought about what will happen as a result

vegetation – n. plant life

pose – v. to stand, sit, or lie down as a model for a painting or picture

]]>
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<![CDATA[Explore a Cave without Going Inside]]>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:
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Czech scientists have come up with a way to explore flooded cave systems without having to go into them. Their solution: create a three-dimensional (3D) map of the cave.

A company called Geo-CZ developed a new tool that uses 3-D technology to map historical and archaeological areas. The Cave Administration of the Czech Republic demonstrated it earlier this month.

Jiri Sindelar of Geo-CZ said, "The input data are not made by individual pictures, but videos. This makes the on-site mapping incredibly faster."

To produce the 3-D images, someone still needs to wear a wet suit, helmet and other equipment before going into the cave. That has to be done only once and only long enough to film it. This is helpful because most caves are underground and can be dark. In addition, caves can be seriously dangerous when they are flooded.

Last year, 12 Thai schoolboys and their football coach were trapped in a flooded cave for 18 days before being rescued.

Geo-CZ used its 3-D mapping system in a cave about 100 kilometers south of Prague, the Czech capital. The cave was discovered in 1863 and opened to the public five years later. In the 1980s, explorers found lower, larger parts of the cave system filled with water. The exploration is continuing.

Sindelar said the new system will make the exploration much easier and the findings more accurate.

Divers can also understand the shape of the cave better when observing it as a whole in the computer model.

Cave specialist Frantisek Krejca noted, "In the 3D imagery, we can really realize the connections…of the whole system. We can get much more information from it."

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Trapped Thai soccer players in Tham Luang cave.
Trapped Thai soccer players in Tham Luang cave.

The Reuters news agency reported this story. Jonathan Evans adapted the story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

accurate – adj. free from mistakes or errors

cave – n. a large hole that was formed by natural processes in the side of a cliff or hill or under the ground

coach – n. a person who teaches and trains the members of a sports team and makes decisions about how the team plays during games

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

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/21/1804/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/21/1804/VOA Special EnglishTue, 21 May 2019 09:11:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Coast Guard Holds Exercise with Philippine Ship in South China Sea]]>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:
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The American military has carried out an exercise with Philippine forces in the South China Sea.

The exercise on May 14 involved the United States Coast Guard cutter ship Bertholf and two Philippine coast guard ships, the U.S. military reported online.

Military officials said it was the first time in seven years that a U.S. Coast Guard ship had visited the Philippines. The training activities included "search and rescue, maritime security and law enforcement capabilities," the Indo-Pacific Command said.

The officers and crew were "excited to visit Manila and work with our counterparts in the Philippine Coast Guard," Bertholf's commanding officer Captain John Driscoll said in a statement.

While there, the American crew also had the chance to learn about Filipino culture and meet local people through organized events, military officials said.

Captain John Driscoll, left, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750), and Philippine Coast Guard Spokesman Commander Armand Balilo, talk to the media during a port call by the U.S. cutter Wednesday, May 15,
Captain John Driscoll, left, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750), and Philippine Coast Guard Spokesman Commander Armand Balilo, talk to the media during a port call by the U.S. cutter Wednesday, May 15,

Driscoll told reporters during a briefing in Manila that two Chinese coast guard ships were seen in the area of the exercise. Philippine media reported the Chinese ships were in a disputed area of the South China Sea west of the main Philippine island of Luzon.

China and the Philippines have competing territorial claims to the area, which includes a small island called Scarborough Shoal.

China claims most of the South China Sea, an important waterway through which trillions of dollars in trade passes each year. The area contains rich fishing waters and is believed to hold oil and natural gas. The Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia also claim ownership to parts of the sea.

The Philippines and others have criticized China for using undersea landforms in the South China Sea to build islands. China has placed military structures and equipment on some of these artificial islands.

Security experts say the coast guard ship was sent to show a new form of U.S. resistance against Chinese expansion in the South China Sea.

Stephen Nagy is a professor of politics and international studies at International Christian University in Tokyo. "That's a message to Beijing that the United States is engaging in the region at four or five different levels, not just a military level," he said.

Philippine Coast Guard personnel salute to welcome the U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) as it arrives for a port call in the first visit by a U.S. cutter in over seven years, Wednesday, May 15, 2019 in Manila, Philippines. (AP
Philippine Coast Guard personnel salute to welcome the U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) as it arrives for a port call in the first visit by a U.S. cutter in over seven years, Wednesday, May 15, 2019 in Manila, Philippines. (AP

The United States makes no claim to the 3.5 million-square-kilometer South China Sea. But U.S. officials say they want to keep the waterway open internationally.

With this goal in mind, the U.S. Navy has sent ships into the sea 11 times since President Donald Trump took office in 2017. The most recent was Sunday, when the USS Preble passed within 22.2 kilometers of Scarborough Shoal.

A top American military commander said last week that U.S. Air Force planes also fly over the South China Sea daily in an effort to protect freedom of overflight. "We fly on a daily basis in and around the South China Sea and really across the region," the commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces General Charles Q. Brown Jr. told reporters.

Brown said the U.S. Air Force flights are not offensive and aim to ensure that all nations can fly where international laws permit them to. "It's something that I think all nations should be able to do," he said. "I realize that, sometimes, you know, China does not like that fact."

China has repeatedly criticized U.S. military sea and air activity in areas of the South China Sea it claims as its own territory.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Ralph Jennings reported this story for VOA News. Bryan Lynn adapted it for Learning English, with additional information from the Associated Press and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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

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

Words in This Story

maritime adj. relating to ships and sea travel

counterpart n. ​someone who has the same job or position as someone in a different place or organization​

engage v. interest someone in taking part in something

region n. particular area in a country of the world

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/21/0628/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/21/0628/VOA Special EnglishTue, 21 May 2019 09:10:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Reports: Iran Increases Production of Enriched Uranium]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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Iran has increased production of low-enriched uranium at a time of tensions with the United States over Iran's nuclear deal with western powers.

Two semi-official Iranian news agencies reported Monday that Iran now produces four times as much low-enriched uranium as before. Enriched uranium can be used to produce nuclear power. It also can be used to make nuclear weapons.

The news agency reports appeared just after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Iran it would face its "official end" if it ever threatened America again.

His warning comes after days of increased tensions between the two sides. The tensions were fueled by the Trump administration's deployment of bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. U.S. officials have defended the move, saying it was to answer threats from Iran.

Administration officials plan to inform U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday about the threat they say that Iran poses to the country and U.S. interests.

Earlier this month, officials of the United Arab Emirates claimed that four oil transport ships were sabotaged. Yemeni rebels allied with Iran used drone aircraft to launch an attack on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia. And U.S. diplomats said airline companies could be mistakenly attacked by Iran, an idea Iran has dismissed.

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2005 file photo, The reactor building of Iran's nuclear power plant is seen, at Bushehr, Iran, 750 miles (1,245 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran.
FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2005 file photo, The reactor building of Iran's nuclear power plant is seen, at Bushehr, Iran, 750 miles (1,245 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran.

Timeline of Iran's nuclear program

The tensions between Iran and the United States come one year after Trump decided the U.S. would withdraw from a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Both the United States and Iran say they do not want war. Yet many observers worry any mistake by either side could lead to events out of their control.

Both the semi-official Fars and Tasnim news agencies reported on the increased production of enriched uranium. They said the information came from a spokesman for Iran's nuclear agency. The official said Iran "in weeks" would reach the 300-kilogram limit set by the nuclear deal. He added that the government had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency about its move.

Trump's comment came just hours after a Katyusha rocket fell in Baghdad's Green Zone, about 1.5 kilometers from the U.S. Embassy. No injuries were reported.

An Iraqi military official told the Associated Press that the rocket was fired from East Baghdad. That area is home to many Iran-supported militias.

Trump wrote on Twitter, "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!"

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that Trump was making "genocidal taunts. He ended his tweet with "Try respect – it works!"

In this Sunday, May 19, 2019, photo released by the U.S. Navy, the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic transports cargo to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln during a replenishment-at-sea in the Arabian Sea.
In this Sunday, May 19, 2019, photo released by the U.S. Navy, the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic transports cargo to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln during a replenishment-at-sea in the Arabian Sea.

Other developments

Trump ordered the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and strengthened sanctions against Iran. The U.S. government also has warned of actions against other nations if they import Iranian oil.

Iran just announced it was backing away from the nuclear deal in which Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium if sanctions were removed. Iran has given European countries 60 days to come up with a new deal or it will begin enriching uranium at a higher level.

Iran has always said it does not seek nuclear weapons. But Western nations have questioned this claim.

Appearing on Fox News television on Sunday, Trump called the 2015 nuclear deal a "horror show."

"I just don't want them to have nuclear weapons and they can't be threatening us," he said.

Yet the nuclear deal had prevented Iran from getting enough highly-enriched uranium for a bomb. United Nations inspectors repeatedly said that Iran was honoring the deal.

On Sunday, the U.S. Navy announced it would begin security patrols in international waters along with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The council includes many Gulf States.

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

Words In This Story

pose – v. to offer for consideration; to come to attention as

taunt – v. to say insulting things to someone to make him angry

sanctions n. an action taken against a country to force it to do something or stop something

patrol – n. the act of moving through an area to make sure it is safe

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

]]>
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<![CDATA[HEALTH & LIFESTYLE - Is Climate Change Making You Sneeze More?]]>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:
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From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

Blooming flowers and new growth on trees make spring a beautiful time of the year. But for many people, all of this new growth only brings suffering in the form of allergies.

Some people claim that each year their allergies seem to get worse and worse.

Well, they are likely right.

Environmental experts and public health researchers are all saying the same thing: Climate change can make allergies more severe and allergy seasons longer.

Aerial view of sailing boats that lay in the water of Lake Starnberg which water is covered with pollen near Starnberg, southern Germany, May 8, 2015.
Aerial view of sailing boats that lay in the water of Lake Starnberg which water is covered with pollen near Starnberg, southern Germany, May 8, 2015.

A study published in the March 2019 journal Lancet Planetary Health found that pollen counts in the Earth's northern hemisphere have been increasing -- along with a rise in temperatures.

The lead writer of that study is Dr. Lewis Ziska, a scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). For the past 20 years, he has been studying the effects of climate change on allergens.

He told VOA Learning English that his research takes scientific theory and helps people's health.

'So, it's been very interesting to be able to take this sort of theoretical observation and to link it into some real pragmatic responses that have a direct impact on people's health. And one of the things that we've been trying to do is to make it more real: 'How does this affect me? What does it mean for my health? What does it mean for my life?''

Allergies impact millions of people around the world. Experts at the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America say allergies are one of the most "common chronic diseases." A chronic disease is one that causes problems often or long-term.

On its website, the Academy claims that between 10 to 30 percent of the world's population suffers from hay fever, a type of allergy. Many people experience allergic reactions to tree pollen, grass pollen, ragweed pollen and more.

Japanese women wearing masks to prevent pollen allergy and for fashion, pose for photographs at Harajuku shopping district in Tokyo, Japan March 15, 2018. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Japanese women wearing masks to prevent pollen allergy and for fashion, pose for photographs at Harajuku shopping district in Tokyo, Japan March 15, 2018. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Findings from 2019 report

But now, back to Ziska and his research. In this most recent study, he and his team studied 17 locations in North America and Europe as well as the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and South Korea.

Ziska only included places where scientists could provide at least 20 years of data.

The researchers found that 12 of those 17 places showed "significant increases" in pollen levels. And 11 of the 17 showed a "significant increase" in the length of allergy seasons.

Back in 2000, Ziska wanted to examine more closely the link between climate change and allergens in the environment.

He and another USDA researcher, Frances Caulfield, looked at the effects that rising carbon dioxide levels were having on the production of ragweed pollen. Ragweed is a common allergen, especially during the fall.

Ziska said that ragweed is one of the plants that has the most effect on human health.

"Remember, one of the memes that you'll hear often is that CO2 is plant food. And one of the plants that has a[n] effect in terms of human health is ragweed. It's the most common allergen in the fall."

The researchers grew ragweed in a controlled environment and increased the carbon dioxide levels in the air. They found that ragweed plants produced much more pollen when carbon dioxide levels increased.

But that is not all they found.

Increased carbon dioxide in the air may also lead to ragweed pollen that is stronger, or more allergenic.

Carbon dioxide is one of the so-called "greenhouse gases." These gases do not let heat escape from the planet; so, temperatures increase on Earth. This is part of what we call "climate change."

Ziska adds that CO2 does not know a so-called good plant from a bad one. And if you have allergies, ragweed is a bad plant.

Rising Carbon Dioxide and Pollen Count
Rising Carbon Dioxide and Pollen Count

Longer growing seasons

When other scientific writers report on the effects of climate change on allergens, they often use Ziska's research.

One such report was published in 2010 by the U.S. National Wildlife Federation and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In it, experts give a detailed explanation on how climate change is affecting allergen-producing plants.

For one thing, warmer temperatures are making the growing season for some allergen producers longer. And, the report says that some plant species may react better to increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) than others. For example, as the climate warms, the areas for major allergen-producing trees such as oak are getting larger.

So, does that mean increased CO2 could help "good" crops grow better? Again, here is Ziska.

"One of the things that we're also doing is looking at common crops -- such as wheat and rice and oat --and trying to find specific varieties of those crops that respond more to carbon dioxide."

Ziska warns that not all places are being affected by rising levels of CO2 in the same way.

"A city is different than the surrounding countryside. Cities are heat sinks. Trees, for example, in the spring...they tend to flower earlier in the cities because it's warmer. Cities heat up faster."

And that's the Health & Lifestyle Report.

I'm Anna Matteo.

Tips for allergy sufferers

During certain times of the year, it may be impossible to avoid contact with outdoor allergens. However, there are things you can do to lessen the effect.

Experts give these tips:

  • Get tested to find out what allergies you have.
  • Limit your time outdoors when the pollen count is especially high.
  • Shower and change your clothes after spending time outdoors. Pollen can get trapped in hair and clothing.
  • Wash out your nose with salt water solution.
  • On especially bad pollen days, keep doors and windows closed.
  • Clean up pollen in your home.
  • When planting trees or flowers for your garden, choose those that do not produce much (or any) pollen. For example, plant female fruit trees. They don't make pollen.

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Quiz - Is Climate Change Making You Sneeze More?

Start the Quiz to find out

Start Quiz

Words in This Story

bloom n. the flowering state

allergy n. An allergy is a medical condition that causes someone to feel sick after eating, touching or breathing something that is harmless to most people. : allergen substances that cause allergic reactions

pollen n. very fine, yellow dust that is produced by a plant and is carried to other plants by wind or by insects

pragmaticadj. formal : dealing with the problems that exist in a specific situation in a reasonable and logical way instead of depending on ideas and theories

impactn. a powerful or major influence or effect

hay fever n. allergy usually caused by pollen

itchv. to have or produce an unpleasant feeling on your skin or inside your mouth, nose, etc. that makes you want to scratch

significant adj. large enough to be noticed

meme n. an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture

heat sink n. something that absorbs (or dissipates) especially unwanted heat

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<![CDATA[Americans Believe Texting while Driving Is Dangerous, Yet Still Do It]]>Dorothy Gundy如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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Many people cannot live without modern technology products, especially their mobile phones. They use the devices to stay in contact with family and friends. The most common method of communication is by sending written text messages, a custom known as texting.

A new study suggests that more than half of U.S. parents believe texting while driving a car or other vehicle is unsafe. Yet most of those questioned said they do it anyway.

The finding was reported earlier this month in the scientific publication JAMA Pediatrics.

Researchers questioned 435 parents from across the United States. These men and women lived in 45 of the 50 states.

Regan Bergmark led the survey. Bergmark is a medical doctor with Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. She told the Reuters news agency that many people believe texting while driving is unsafe but have also likely done it. She said that this then creates a false sense of security. It strengthens their beliefs that they personally are in no danger.

In fact, the survey found that 52 percent of millennial parents said they thought it was "never" safe to text and drive. The same goes for 58 percent of older parents. But almost two-thirds of parents reported reading texts while driving, and more than half of them have also written texts, the researchers found.

In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, a sign over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston alerts motorists to a new state law banning texting while driving. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, a sign over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston alerts motorists to a new state law banning texting while driving. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

For the survey, millennials were defined as individuals being from 22 to 37 years of age. The millennial generation includes many digital natives, meaning they grew up with smartphones and other mobile devices. The survey also found millennial parents were more likely to have many other dangerous habits while driving than older parents. They were more likely to use email while driving and drive faster than the speed limit.

"The problem with smartphones is that they have become an unavoidable part of daily life for most people," Bergmark said.

"Many people are expected to be reachable by phone or email immediately, to be reachable for their children or work," she added. "Being a responsible adult therefore often means always being reachable - yet we also know that while driving, being reachable carries with it the risk of a crash."

Almost 16 percent of millennial parents and 10 percent of older parents in the survey said they had been in at least one crash over the past year.

Compared to people who did not experience a crash, those who did were much more likely to have a number of unsafe driving habits. These include driving over the speed limit, texting, emailing, and doing other things on their phones, the survey found.

About three in four parents said they did not remember their child's doctor speaking to them about distracted driving or the dangers of texting while driving.

Only about one in four millennials and about one in six older parents had used computer application software or smartphone programs aimed at reducing distracted driving.

The study was not a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how texting or other activities might cause crashes. It was also not designed to prove if any given interventions might help reduce this risk.

"In general, it is never safe to use a smartphone while driving," said Despina Stavrinos. She is the director of the Translational Research for Injury Prevention Laboratory at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She was not involved in the study.

"There are a number of apps that can help to limit distracted driving, by disabling cell phone features when the vehicle is in motion," Stavrinos said. "The simplest thing to do is to put the phone out of sight and out of reach to reduce the temptation to drive distracted."

'However, they are not the only dangerous source of distraction,' she added.

I'm Dorothy Gundy.

Lisa Rapaport reported on this story for the Reuters news service. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. How might officials reduce cell phone use and other habits that lead to distracted driving? Write to us in the Comments Section.

Words in This Story

mobileadj. able to be moved

millennialadj. relating to a millennium a period of a thousand years

digitaladj. using or characterized by computer technology

smartphone(s) – n. a mobile telephone that can be used to send and receive e-mail, connect to the Internet and take photographs

habit(s) – n. something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way

distractedadj. unable to think about or pay attention to something

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

feature(s) – n. an interesting or important part, quality or ability

temptationn. a strong urge or desire to have or do something

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/20/0778/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/20/0778/VOA Special EnglishMon, 20 May 2019 02:22:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Georgetown University to Expel Two Students over Admissions Scandal]]>Ashley Thompson如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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Georgetown University says it plans to expel two students following the national college admissions scandal uncovered earlier this year.

Georgetown officials announced the expulsions on Wednesday, several hours after one of the two students made public his own legal action against the school. Adam Semprevivo is taking the school to court over its treatment of him, including its refusal to let him change schools and keep his class credits.

Georgetown, which is in Washington, D.C., did not identify the expelled students or accuse them of wrongdoing. A legal representative for Semprevivo confirmed that he was one of the students, however.

So far, 50 people – including actors, business leaders and college coaches -- have faced criminal charges in the scandal.

Wealthy parents stand accused of paying large amounts of money to gain admission for their children at eight well-respected American colleges and universities. The schools include Stanford University, the University of Southern California and Yale University.

Stanford expelled one student linked to the scandal last month, while Yale denied another student's admission in March.

No students have faced criminal charges. Some of the 33 parents who have been charged have said they tried to protect their children from what they were doing.

Georgetown officials say that knowingly misrepresenting or providing false information on application materials could be grounds for dismissal.

Meghan Dubyak, a Georgetown representative, said, "Each student case was addressed individually and each student was given multiple opportunities to … provide information to the university.'

Earlier this month, Adam Semprevivo's father admitted his guilt in planning to commit several kinds of fraud. The father, Stephen Semprevivo, is a wealthy executive based in Los Angeles, California.

U.S. Justice Department representatives say the father paid $400,000 to William "Rick" Singer to help his son get into Georgetown as part of the school's tennis team. Singer is at the center of the scandal.

Stephen Semprevivo was the third parent to admit guilt. Another parent, American actor Felicity Huffman, admitted her guilt in a conspiracy charge on May 13.

David Kenner is a legal representative for Adam Semprevivo. He said the student received a letter on May 15 from Charles Deacon, Georgetown's head of admissions. The letter announced Semprevivo's expulsion and the rescission, or cancellation, of his admission.

The rescission means Semprevivo must give up his academic credits and overall 3.18 grade point average. The school will also not return the nearly $200,000 his parents paid for him to study at Georgetown.

Kenner said Georgetown's position towards Semprevivo is unacceptable and that the student's lawyers will be seeking additional action against the school.

Government legal representatives say Semprevivo is among at least 12 Georgetown students involved in the scandal. They say former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst accepted those students as team members over a six-year period. In exchange, they say Ernst accepted more than $2.7 million in illegal payments from William Singer.

Adam Semprevivo never played tennis in his three years at Georgetown.

Ernst left Georgetown in 2018. He denied his guilt in a conspiracy charge in March.

Adam Semprevivo says he received "no assistance" from Singer on his high school classroom performance or on the SAT admissions exam. He also claims he had no knowledge of his father's actions until February.

I'm Ashley Thompson.

Jonathon Stempel reported on this story for the Reuters news service. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

We want to hear from you. What do you think should happen to the students involved in the scandal? Write to us in the Comments Section.

Words in This Story

scandaln. an incident in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong

credit(s) – n. a unit that measures a student's progress towards earning a degree in a school or college

coach - n.

address(ed) – v. to give attention to something

multipleadj. more than one

opportunitiesn. amounts of time or situations in which something can be done

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

conspiracyn. the act of secretly planning to do something that is harmful or illegal

grade point average (GPA) – n. a number that indicates a student's average grade

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/20/5631/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/20/5631/VOA Special EnglishMon, 20 May 2019 02:21:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Investors Pressure Companies on Environment]]>John Russell如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/20/3723/

Investors are increasingly demanding companies outside of the oil and gas business to consider the environment in their decisions.

In a few weeks, Amazon investors will vote on a proposal to push the company to show how it is reducing its use of fossil fuels. In the American state of Kentucky, Yum Brands stockholders want to know what the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell is doing about deforestation.

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) studies corporate governance and responsible investing. The group found that outside of the energy and utility industries, investors only looked at 33% of such proposals five years ago. So far this year, that number nearly doubles to 60%.

Kosmas Papadopoulos is the executive director of ISS Analytics. "Climate change will affect all industries," he said. "And I think we'll see more in other sectors."

Peter Reali is head of responsible investing at Nuveen, a global investment company. "You're definitely seeing investors ask for it, but you're also seeing companies wanting to talk a lot more about it, in particular on climate change issues," he said. "We have meetings or phone calls with hundreds of companies annually, and boards are really interested in what investors think about this stuff."

Most stockholder proposals pushing for environmental action fail to pass. Company managements usually suggest voting against them. Many say they are already paying increased attention to the environment.

At Starbucks' annual meeting in March, stockholders voted against a request for a progress report on recycling cups and reducing waste that ends up in the ocean.

Starbucks' management said that it already has planned to eliminate plastic straws, among other environmental-friendly moves. The proposal lost by a five-to-four vote.

Papadopoulos notes that getting support for such proposals is difficult "even for some of the issues where you may have seen consensus in the market." He added, "anything above 30%, we generally consider as significant."

But the biggest successes for investors may not take place at stockholder meetings at all. They may come, instead, during the private conversations between stockholders and companies.

For example, the investing group Green Century Capital Management said it recently withdrew a proposal made to Royal Caribbean Cruises. The proposal concerned the cruise operator's food waste management. After the withdrawal, Royal Caribbean still agreed to document annually how much food waste it has and what it is doing to reduce it.

I'm John Russell.

Stan Choe reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

investor – n. a person who uses money to earn more money : a person who uses their money to purchase stock in a company, to buy property, etc., in order to make future profit

sector – n. an area of an economy : a part of an economy that includes certain kinds of jobs

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

recycle – v. to make something new from (something that has been used before)

consensus – n. a general agreement about something : an idea or opinion that is shared by all the people in a group

significant – adj. very important

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

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<![CDATA[Salt Batteries Could Be Major Step in Move Away from Fossil Fuels]]>Ashley Thompson如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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At a power station in Berlin, Germany, visitors find a shining piece of machinery that looks out of place in the building. Its silver pipes and containers hold a substance that reportedly could become a major ingredient for producing power in the future.

Vattenfall, the station's operator, says this form of energy would not depend on traditional fossil fuels, such as oil or coal.

The company, working with a Swedish company called SaltX, is testing the use of salt to store heat. Yet it is not the kind of salt you add to food.

Heat-produced energy represents more than the half the power Germany uses. If it works well, the salt-based energy storage system could help solve a problem presented by renewable energy sources, such as wind and the sun's energy.

The problem is that renewable energy sources are not completely dependable. They sometimes make too much, and sometimes too little power.

E.ON, another German power company, recently reported that wind and solar power produced up to 52 gigawatt hours of electricity during daylight hours on Monday, April 22. Germany's energy usage at the time was just 49.5 gigawatt hours.

Hendrik Roeglin heads the salt storage project for Vattenfall. He told the Associated Press that power companies are able to produce twice as much energy as Germany needs through renewable sources. However, they cannot do so continuously.

"With many facilities like this one, in theory you wouldn't need gas or other fossil fuel backups," Roeglin noted.

Berlin's Reuter power plant supplies heat to 600,000 households in the German capital. Now the plant is adding a salt-like substance called calcium oxide, also known as quicklime, to its power generating efforts. Vattenfall and SaltX have been making use of a simple chemical reaction that happens when quicklime becomes wet.

The salt-like particles collect the water, becoming calcium hydroxide and releasing large amounts of heat at the same time. The calcium hydroxide is then cooked, removing the water and changing it back into calcium oxide.

The process operates in much the same way batteries do. But instead of electricity, the system stores heat. SaltX says it has also created a way of covering the quicklime with small particles — known as a nano-coating. This prevents it from sticking together after several heating and cooling cycles.

Roeglin says the process can take in 10 times more energy than water, which is currently used for power-to-heat facilities. And unlike containers of hot water, which slowly cool down over time, the system can hold the chemically-trapped energy for far longer. Need heat? Just add water.

A chimney billows out steam at Berlin's Reuter West thermal power station on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. The energy company, together with a Swedish start-up, is testing the use of salt to store heat, which accounts for more than half the power consumed in
A chimney billows out steam at Berlin's Reuter West thermal power station on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. The energy company, together with a Swedish start-up, is testing the use of salt to store heat, which accounts for more than half the power consumed in

"It makes total sense to try this because storing energy is a hugely important step in the future," says Kai Hufendiek. He is an energy economist at the University of Stuttgart and was not involved with the project.

The Swedish company SaltX claims that the system can produce temperatures above 500 degrees Celsius. Hufendiek noted that if this is true, it also makes the process interesting for industrial uses such as food processing.

SaltX adds that the calcium oxide currently mined in Finland could be safely used more than once. That makes it more useful than some battery technologies that use rare or toxic materials.

Simon Ahlin is a representative of SaltX. During a recent visit to the Reuter power plant, he said that this is a solution to energy needs that is available in a short amount of time.

"If your ambition is to be fossil-free within a generation, you have to consider … alternatives to reach that," he told reporters.

Yet Hendrik Roeglin of Vattenfall is waiting until the end of the year to see the results of the tests.

The Berlin-based project can currently store enough energy to heat about 100 large houses. But SaltX says the facility could easily be expanded and provide heat to any of the homes or offices already connected to the city's heating system.

Such systems, made of pipes pushing hot water or steam from power plants to homes and businesses, exist in many European countries. They also exist in China, Japan, Canada and the United States.

Experts agree that a number of technological solutions will be necessary to take the place of fossil fuels. Some already exist, while others are still experimental. U.S.-based automaker Tesla has already shown that it can provide large lithium-ion battery systems to operate electrical grids.

Moving away from nuclear, coal and gas is a big goal for a heavily industrialized country such as Germany. The government has set a date to close all the country's nuclear plants by 2022 and stop burning coal for electricity by 2038. Gas will be a back-up technology until a way is found to depend wholly on renewable sources sometime around 2050.

The German plan is being closely watched by other countries studying how to meet the Paris climate accord signed in 2016. That agreement aims to keep warming in the Earth's atmosphere well below 2 degrees Celsius.

I'm Ashley Thompson. And I'm John Russell.

Frank Jordans reported on this story for the Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted his report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. How successful do you think these 'salt batteries' will be? Write to us in the Comments Section.

Words in This Story

ingredientn. one of the things that are used to make a food or product

renewable – adj. restored or replaced by natural processes

gigawattn. a unit of electric power equal to one billion watts

facilitiesn. something such as a building or large piece of equipment that is built for a specific purpose

batteries n. devices that are placed inside a machine (such as a clock, toy, or car) to supply it with electricity

cycle(s) – n. a set of events or actions that happen again and again in the same order

ambitionn. a desire to be successful, powerful, or famous

alternative(s) – n. something that can be chosen instead of something else

grid(s) – n. a network of electrical wires and equipment that supplies electricity to a large area

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/20/0869/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/20/0869/VOA Special EnglishMon, 20 May 2019 02:20:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Zombie Cells: Researchers Fight Aging Process of the Human Body]]>Bryan Lynn如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/20/8799/

Creatures that refuse to die, commonly known as zombies, have appeared in popular movies and television shows for years.

Recent research has shown that an unusual part of real human biology possesses zombie-like qualities: a special kind of cells.

Like the stars of many scary stories, these so-called 'zombie cells' also refuse to die. Studies suggest that, as they build up in your body, they lead to aging and the conditions that come with that process, like bone and brain diseases.

Now, researchers are studying drugs that can kill zombie cells and possibly treat the problems they bring.

James Kirkland is a medical doctor and aging specialist with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He is working on the research. He told the Associated Press that, generally, the goal is to fight aging itself. This in turn may delay the appearance of some age-related disease and disabilities.

The research has been done mainly in mice. Earlier this year, the first test on people was published and provided some interesting results.

Zombie cells are actually called senescent cells. They start out like usual cells, but then face problems, like viral infection or damage to their genetic material (DNA). At that point, a cell may die or become a zombie cell – entering a state of suspended animation.

These zombie cells release chemicals that can harm nearby normal cells. That is where the trouble starts.

What kind of trouble? In studies on mice, drugs that destroy zombie cells — called senolytics — have been shown to improve many different conditions. This includes cataracts, diabetes, enlargement of the heart, kidney problems, and age-related muscle loss.

Mouse studies have also shown a more direct tie between zombie cells and aging. When drugs targeting those cells were given to older mice, the animals showed improved walking speed, strength and an ability to continue physical activity. Even when researchers used the treatment on very old mice, it extended their lifespan by about 36 percent.

This April 2019 microscope photo provided by the Niedernhofer Lab of the Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism at the University of Minnesota shows senescent human fibroblast cells in Minneapolis, Minn.
This April 2019 microscope photo provided by the Niedernhofer Lab of the Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism at the University of Minnesota shows senescent human fibroblast cells in Minneapolis, Minn.

Researchers have also shown that putting zombie cells into young mice generally made them act older. Their walking speed slowed down. Their muscle strength and ability to stay active also decreased. Tests showed the newly added cells changed other cells into the zombie state.

This year, Kirkland and his team published the first study of a zombie-cell treatment in people. It involved 14 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an often deadly lung disease. Risk of the disease rises with age, and patients' lungs show evidence of zombie cells.

After three weeks of treatment, patients who took part in the experiment improved on some measures of physical health, like walking speed. Other measures did not show improvement.

Gregory Cosgrove is a doctor and chief medical officer of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. He was not involved in the study. He noted that, overall, the results are a good sign.

"It really raises enthusiasm to proceed with the more rigorous studies," Cosgrove said.

The field of zombie cell research is still young. But Kirkland estimates at least 12 companies have formed or launched efforts to study treatments.

Laura Niedernhofer is a professor of biochemistry at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She suggested that, in addition to age-related diseases, anti-zombie cell drugs might be useful for treating early aging among cancer survivors. This condition brings on the early appearance of some diseases.

Niedernhofer said the goal is not to prevent damaged cells from turning into zombies, because they may become cancerous instead. The aim is to kill cells that have already changed, or to limit the harm they do.

And what about giving them to healthy people who want to prevent aging? That is possible but a long way off, after studies have established that the drugs are safe enough, Niedernhofer said.

Kirkland added, "We may not get there."

In any case, experts do support the research so far. George Kuchel, a doctor with the University of Connecticut Center on Aging in Farmington, found the results very interesting.

Nir Barzilai is a researcher of aging at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He believes treating zombie cells will play a part in the overall effort to delay, stop and maybe even undo aging.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Malcolm Ritter reported on this story for the Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor. We want to hear from you. How likely do you think it is that researchers will be able to stop the process of aging? Write to us in the Comments Section.

Quiz: 'Zombie Cells': Researchers Fight Aging Process of the Human Body

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Words in This Story

micen. very small animals that have pointed noses and long, thin tails

suspended animationn. a state in which the processes of the body, such as blood circulation, stop or become very slow for a period of time while a person or animal is unconscious

cataract(s) – n. a condition in which a part of your eye called the lens becomes cloudy and you cannot see well

diabetesn. a serious disease in which the body cannot properly control the amount of sugar in your blood because it does not have enough insulin

enthusiasmn. a strong feeling of active interest in something that you like or enjoy

rigorousadj. done carefully and with a lot of attention to detail

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<![CDATA[Explorer Makes Deepest Ocean Dive in History]]>John Russell如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/19/8702/

When Victor Vescovo reached a depth of 10,928 meters in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench, he took 15 minutes to look at what surrounded him. He had just reached what is believed to be the deepest point a human has ever gone in the ocean.

He broke the record set by Oscar-winning director James Cameron. It was Cameron who suggested to Vescovo to stop and enjoy the moment.

The deep sea operation, filmed for part of an upcoming Discovery Channel documentary series, took almost 12 hours.

"I was stunned to discover when I did my research that of the five oceans, four had never actually had a visitation to their bottoms," Vescovo said. "I thought it was about time that someone actually did that."

Vescovo traveled down in a vehicle called the SDV Limiting Factor, a titanium craft outfitted with high definition cameras.

Patrick Lahey is with Triton Submarines, the company that made the SDV. He said such operations show why more exploration of the oceans is important for science.

"I think it's important for us human beings to study these areas," he said, noting how little is known about large parts of the ocean. "The ocean is the life force of our planet," he added.

Vescovo said that he believed he found many new species on the dive. He said the scientific group of the operation is excited and happy with what he brought to the surface for more examination. "It's really great," he added.

In addition to unusual animals, Vescovo saw something familiar – waste, especially plastic, in the deepest part of the water. Andy Sharpness leads Oceana, an environmental group. He called the discovery of waste materials there, "disturbing but not surprising."

I'm John Russell.

Nekesa Mumbi Moody reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

stun – v. to surprise or upset (someone) very much

actually – adv. used to stress that a statement is true especially when it differs in some way from what might have been thought or expected

disturbing – adj. – worrying, upsetting; from the verb disturb - to worry or upset (someone)

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

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<![CDATA[San Francisco First US City to Ban Facial Recognition by Local Police]]>Bryan Lynn如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/19/9003/

San Francisco officials have approved a ban on the use of facial recognition technology by local law enforcement and agencies.

The city's governing Board of Supervisors approved the ban this week. The board is expected to give final approval to the measure during a second vote next week.

If given final approval, the ban would be the first of its kind passed by an American city. The measure bars the use of facial recognition by local police and all other city agencies.

The ban is part of a bill that restricts surveillance technologies. The measure also orders San Francisco agencies to describe any current or future facial recognition activities.

Use of facial recognition technology by government agencies across the U.S. has continually increased over the past 10 years. The machine-learning methods that power the technology have also greatly improved in recent years.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisor Erik Gordon, left, helps a passenger navigate one of the new facial recognition kiosks at a United Airlines gate before boarding a flight to Tokyo, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, at George Bush Intercontinental Air
U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisor Erik Gordon, left, helps a passenger navigate one of the new facial recognition kiosks at a United Airlines gate before boarding a flight to Tokyo, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, at George Bush Intercontinental Air

But the systems are not perfect.

Privacy groups supporting the ban argue that facial recognition systems make too many mistakes and can violate personal rights. For example, they say failures of the technology to correctly recognize race could violate a person's civil rights. Several studies have shown the technology can have difficulties correctly guessing a person's race.

Opponents of the ban included law enforcement agencies and some technology companies. They say the use of facial recognition systems should be permitted to help police identify and catch criminals. They also argue the technology can be a useful tool to help find lost children or older people.

American technology company Microsoft is one company developing facial recognition. However, it has joined critics in calling for restrictions on use of the technology by government agencies. Microsoft president Brad Smith said last year he saw an urgent need to begin placing limits on the systems to avoid the kind of surveillance state described in George Orwell's book '1984.'

Alvaro Bedoya heads the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University in Washington. He told the Associated Press he thinks facial recognition "is one of those technologies that people get how creepy it is."

Bedoya noted that San Francisco is considered the "most technologically advanced city" in America. A ban on facial recognition systems there could send a warning to other police agencies thinking of trying out the technology, he said.

In this photo taken Tuesday, May 7, 2019, is a security camera in the Financial District of San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Tuesday, May 7, 2019, is a security camera in the Financial District of San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

California state lawmakers are already considering a proposal to ban the use of facial identification technology with police body cameras. And a bill before the U.S. Senate would restrict businesses from using the technology on individuals without their permission.

But Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, says he is not sure what effect San Francisco's ban could have nationwide. He said he believes the measure may be too extreme to serve as a general model.

"It might find success in San Francisco, but I will be surprised if it finds success in a lot of other cities," Castro said.

San Francisco police say they stopped testing face recognition technology in 2017. Spokesman David Stevenson said in a statement that police officials look forward to "developing legislation that addresses the privacy concerns of technology while balancing the public safety concerns of our growing, international city."

I'm Bryan Lynn.

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

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

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

Words in This Story

surveillance n. the activity of watching people carefully, often secretly, especially by an army or police force

creepy adj. strange or frightening

advanced adj. having progressed to a high level

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<![CDATA[WORDS AND THEIR STORIES - In Life (as in an Omelet) You Need to 'Break Some Eggs']]>Anna Matteo如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/19/9949/

Now, Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English.

On this program, we explore common expressions and idioms a little more in depth, Today, we discuss a popular and common food – eggs!

People who like eggs think they are egg-xecllent (excellent)! Egg-traordinary (extraordinary)!! Egg-mazing (amazing)!!!

Okay, that last one didn't really work.

So, let's talk about cooking with eggs.

In the mid-1970s, the U.S. American Egg Board -- a group that represents egg farmers -- wanted to create an advertising campaign that captured the usefulness and versatility of the egg. Its ad campaign, called "The Incredible, Edible Egg," told of all the health benefits and showed all the ways we can use eggs in our meals.

For a party or a snack, in a mousse or in a pack, making omelets for the gang, in a salad or merengue, for a treat right after play, in an elegant soufflé … the incredible, edible egg.

And it's true. We use eggs in so many different dishes. And they are one of the most common breakfast foods in the United States. We eat them sunny side up, scrambled or poached, fried on a sandwich or cooked with vegetables or cheese in an omelet.

a fried egg
a fried egg

And that brings us to this cooking-related idiom: "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs."

We often say this as an answer to several different situations.

Here's one:

Let's say you have an important goal or task. Well, sometimes you must do unpleasant things in order to complete that task or meet that goal. You can say you had to break a few eggs (those are the unpleasant things) to make the omelet (that is the task or goal).

However, we usually use this idiom in the negative form.

A: What are you doing?! This place is a mess! The floor is covered with cardboard and paint! And what is that shiny stuff all over the new rug?! B: It's glitter! I'm making some props for my next video project. It's going to be amazing! A: But I can't walk across the floor! I can't even SEE the floor! B: I know it looks bad. But, you know what they say: You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs!
For her performance at the 2010 Grammy Awards called 'Glitter in the Air,' Pink probably wore a lot of glitter. At least, one would hope. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
For her performance at the 2010 Grammy Awards called 'Glitter in the Air,' Pink probably wore a lot of glitter. At least, one would hope. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Ok, here is another situation. Sometimes "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs" means it is impossible to get something important done without creating a problem for someone else. So, the result may be good for you, but not for everyone.

Let's hear it used this way in a dialogue.

A: Our customers are not going to be happy if we move our company to a new city. B: I've looked at the numbers. And moving is the only way we can grow and expand. Taxes are just too high here. A: Well, they are still going to be really angry. B: Look, you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

Yet another situation involves an element of sacrifice. In order to get something good or useful, you must give up something else.

A: Look, I don't think I can give up sugar for one whole month. B: Well, that's the only way you are going to lose the weight before your wedding. A: Isn't there another way?? B: You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs. A: I don't want an omelet. I want a double-chocolate iced coffee with ice cream on top!

Now, let's end the show back on cooking. Making an omelet does require some skill. But boiling an egg does not. You boil some water and put an egg in. That is the recipe. So, if we say that someone can't even boil egg, we mean they cannot cook … at all!

And that's all the time we have for this Words and Their Stories.

Until next time … I'm Anna Matteo.

Do you have egg idioms in your language? Let us know in the Comments Section.

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor. The song at the end is Leo Sayer singing "Can't Make an Omelet Without Eggs" from the movie The Missing Link.

Words in This Story

idiom n. an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own

extraordinary adj. extremely good or impressive

amazing adj. causing great surprise or wonder : causing amazement

versatility n. the quality or state of having many uses or being able to do many different kinds of things

edible adj. fit to be eaten

scrambled adj. to prepare (eggs) by stirring during frying

poach v. to cook in simmering liquid

negative adj. a proposition which denies or contradicts another : an expression (such as the word no) of negation or denial

glitter n. very small, shiny objects used to decorate a surface

recipe n. a set of instructions for making food

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<![CDATA[EDUCATION - The Language of Air Travel]]>Alice Bryant如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/19/3306/

Believe it or not – Aviation English is one of the most in-demand forms of English around the world. Why? Because English is the language of the skies.

The International Civil Aviation Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations. In 2003, the organization set a deadline of March 2008 for pilots and air traffic controllers at international airports to pass English proficiency exams. A high level knowledge of English continues to be required in international aviation today.

Some form of Aviation English is commonly used by many people working in the industry. But pilots and air traffic controllers must also learn a special form of English to communicate with each other by radio and -- more recently -- by computer. This coded language is a combination of technical terms and plain English. For example, the term "Roger" means "message received" and "Wilco" means "I will comply." The good news is that there are only around 300 such terms.

Aviation English differs from Standard English in a few other important ways. For example, it typically avoids question forms and negative forms. There is also almost no use of modal verbs, such as the word "can." And, since this language is made of short, direct commands and responses, subject pronouns, such as "you" and "I," are not used.

Passengers walk through a busy international airport.
Passengers walk through a busy international airport.

Few pilots know this specialized language better than Clarence "Clyde" Romero.

A native of New York City, he worked as a pilot for 38 years before retiring in 2015. He began his career in the U.S. Air Force, first as a pilot then a flight instructor. Later, he became a commercial airline pilot and captain with Piedmont Airlines, followed by U.S. Airways and American Airlines.

Clyde Romero now lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He joins us by phone to tell us about aviation communication and some of his experiences as an active pilot.

Mr. Romero – thanks so much for speaking with us today.

CLYDE ROMERO: No problem.

AB: Can you start by telling us a little bit about the language of pilots and air traffic controllers?

CLYDE ROMERO: OK, there's a phonetic alphabet that you have to be familiar with. So, in other words, you never say "a" over the radio, you say, "Alpha." You never say "z" over the radio, you say "Zulu." So, you have to be familiar with the phonetic alphabet, so that if you have to spell something out, that's how you spell it.

You're very specific when you say numbers and when you speak because you have to make sure the other person really understands it. You would say "niner" instead of "nine," and then, if you had to say "19," you don't say "19" over the radio, you say "Roger that. It's one-nine."

AB: OK, great. So the alphabet is phonetic and numbers are said individually. Give us an example of a message or communication between a pilot and air traffic controller.

CLYDE ROMERO: I'll give you an example. You could be on a gate, saying, "Roger. This is American Airlines 551, requesting pushback, Delta 21, LaGuardia." So he [the air traffic controller] knows what flight number you are, what gate you're at, you want a pushback, and you're going to LaGuardia [Airport]. ​

Airline Captain Clyde Romero
Airline Captain Clyde Romero

AB: OK. So, there is a lot of information in very few words. Could you give examples of where English language challenges may play out on the job?

CLYDE ROMERO: The biggest challenge that people who are -- where English is not their primary language -- is that, in the aviation field, people tend to talk fast. And, unless you have the ear for it, you'll miss a lot. Even people who English is their normal language, we'll have people say, "Say again," and that's a normal term that pilots use all the time. So, if you can imagine somebody where English is not their primary language and people are talking fast, you can see how things could get missed.​

And, where this is really important is during emergencies.'

AB: So, given the speed and technical nature of the language, do you have any suggestions or encouragement for non-native English speakers who are interested in the field?

CLYDE ROMERO: Aviation terms and phrases is a language unto itself.

I would recommend that they listen to air traffic control people. They have numerous places where you can listen in on the radio and how they talk and how they interact. And, it's like anything else. It's a foreign language. So, how do you learn a foreign language? You start hearing it and you start mimicking it, and then you learn about it.

AB: Great! Now – every job has humorous moments. Are there any humorous stories that involved miscommunication from your time as an airline pilot?

CLYDE ROMERO: Yeah, well, I'll give you a story. We were going into L.A. – Los Angeles. And there's an arrival called the La Jolla Arrival. But, when you look at it, it's spelled with a J – it's spelled J-O-L-L-A. Okay, so, we're going into L.A. and I'm flying the airplane and the other guy [pilot] is on the radios and he's never been into L.A. and we're on the La Jolla Arrival.

But he said, "Well, we're on the La-JOLL-a Arrival." Well, air traffic control said, "Well, out here in California, we say our Js like Hs. You're on the La-HOY-a arrival."

So, I picked up the radio and said, "Oh, really? So it's Hanuary, Hune and Huly out here?" So after I said that, naturally, I'm not the only one on the radio. There's Delta, American, Eastern – everybody else. And they said, 'Wow, American, you got him good there, didn't you?' So that's a true story.'

Passengers relax during a flight.
Passengers relax during a flight.

AB: Now that's a good one! So, when you speak to air traffic control, all of the other airlines can hear your radio talking.

CLYDE ROMERO: Yeah, when you're on center frequency, there could be as many as two or three hundred airplanes on that same frequency, so you're hearing everybody talk along with yourself. So what that does to you, it builds situation awareness around you [about] what's going on.

AB: Just out of curiosity, how many messages might you hear in one minute?

CLYDE ROMERO: In one minute, probably 50. If it's busy, it could be more than that. And a lot of times you don't have the time to respond. If they say, "American 785, turn right, heading 250, break. Delta 521, descend and maintain 2000 feet. Eastern 521 you're clear to approach runway 13 LaGuardia, break." And that's what you hear. That's exactly how fast they will talk. And you will not have time to respond. Any of the big airports, 95 percent of the time, you will not have a chance to respond. You will just do it.'

AB: Mr. Romero, thanks again for speaking with us.

CLYDE ROMERO: OK, great. I'm glad I could be of assistance.

I'm Alice Bryant.

Alice Bryant wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Do you work in or are you interested in working in the aviation field? Write to us in the Comments section below or visit our Facebook page.

Helpful Words and Terms

air traffic control (ATC) – a system through which workers on the ground give instructions by radio to aircraft pilots

altitude n. the height of something (such as an airplane) above sea level

arrivaln. the act of coming to or reaching an airport

break – a term used to note separation between parts of a message ​

cabin n. the part of an airplane where the passengers sit

center frequencyn. the central radio communications used by pilots and air traffic controllers

clearance n. official permission for a pilot or airplane to do something

crew n. the group of people who operate an airplane, train or ship

gate –​ n. refers to the place (inside or outside an airport) for departure or arrival

land v. to return (an aircraft) to the ground after a flight

mayday – a distress signal, preferably spoken three times; a word used to call for help when an airplane is in danger

over – a term used in radio communications to show that a message is complete

pushback n. the movement of an airplane from a parking spot, usually with help from a specialized ground vehicle

runway n. a long strip of ground where aircraft take off and land

Roger – means: "I have received all of your last message"

say again – means: "Repeat all, or the following part, of your last message"

stand by – means: "Please wait"

takeoff n. the moment when an aircraft leaves the ground and begins to fly

taxiing n. movement of an airplane at low speed on wheels along the ground

Wilco – means: "I will comply" ​

A pilot and captain fly an aircraft.
A pilot and captain fly an aircraft.

Finding the Right Program

Any good Aviation English training program should contain activities that address six language skill areas: pronunciation, structure, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and interactions.

Types of activities the program should have:

1. Interactive listening exercises. These exercises should make the learners give spoken responses.

2. Information exchange and role-play activities.

3. Speaking practice for vocabulary and grammar (structure).

4. Using tools (such as charts) and numerical data (tables and displays) to make students speak in a way that mirrors the work environment of pilots and air traffic controllers.

5. Group problem solving activities.

Source: ICAO

Aviation English Exams

Aviation professionals are required to take English proficiency exams every few years. ICAO divides English proficiency into 6 levels. Pilots and air traffic controllers must maintain at least ICAO Level 4.

There are two possible exams:

ELPAC – English Language Proficiency for Aeronautical Communication. This one meets the ICAO standards and language proficiency requirements.

TEA – Test of English for Aviation. Mayflower College in Britain designed this test, though it is not endorsed by ICAO.

Your aviation school decides which of these exams you must take.

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<![CDATA[ARTS & CULTURE - Architect I.M.Pei Dies at 102]]>Caty Weaver如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/18/6289/

I.M. Pei, one of the best-known architects of the 20th century, has died. He was 102.

Born in China, Ieoh Ming Pei moved to the United States in 1935 to study architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

Pei's works around the world include museums, government buildings, hotels, schools and other structures built with stone, steel and glass.

One of his best-known and most disputed works was built 30 years ago. Pei created a new entrance for the world-famous Louvre Museum in Paris.

Pei first spent four months studying the museum and French history. He then drew plans for a 21-meter-tall steel and glass pyramid, with three smaller pyramids nearby. It was a very futuristic style of work for the 12th-century building.

A French newspaper denounced Pei's pyramids as "an annex to Disneyland." An environmental group said they belonged in a desert. Others accused Pei of ruining one of the world's greatest landmarks.

Pei said the Louvre was the most difficult job of his career. He argued that he had wanted to create a modern space that would not take away from the traditional part of the museum. He said the glass pyramids were based on the works of French landscape architect Le Notre. They honored French history.

The pyramids opened in the spring of 1989. Over the years that followed, the structure came to be loved by most, if not all, of its critics.

Other well-known Pei buildings include the John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Dallas City Hall in Texas.

Pei officially retired in 1990. However, he continued to work on projects -- including museums in Luxembourg, Qatar and his ancestral home of Suzhou.

I'm Caty Weaver.

FILE - General view of the Louvre Museum in Paris, with the glass Pyramid entrance designed by Chinese-born U.S. architect I.M. Pei, Aug. 6, 2007.
FILE - General view of the Louvre Museum in Paris, with the glass Pyramid entrance designed by Chinese-born U.S. architect I.M. Pei, Aug. 6, 2007.

FILE - The exterior of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, designed by architect I.M. Pei. Shown May 21, 2013.
FILE - The exterior of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, designed by architect I.M. Pei. Shown May 21, 2013.

Bank of China Tower, a building designed by architect I.M. Pei, is seen in Hong Kong Friday, May 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Bank of China Tower, a building designed by architect I.M. Pei, is seen in Hong Kong Friday, May 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

A reflecting pool sits in a large plaza on the walk up to Dallas City Hall, a building designed by architect I.M. Pei, in Dallas, Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A reflecting pool sits in a large plaza on the walk up to Dallas City Hall, a building designed by architect I.M. Pei, in Dallas, Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

FILE - This Aug. 19, 2009, file photo shows the entrance of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, designed by architect I.M. Pei, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
FILE - This Aug. 19, 2009, file photo shows the entrance of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, designed by architect I.M. Pei, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Visitors tour the new Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, April 1, 2009.
Visitors tour the new Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, April 1, 2009.

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

Words in This Story

architect - n. a person who designs buildings

pyramid - n. a very large structure built especially in ancient Egypt that has a square base and four triangular sides, which form a point at the top

annex - n. a building that is attached to or near a larger building and usually used as part of it

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/18/6289/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/18/6289/VOA Special EnglishFri, 17 May 2019 23:57:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Aid Groups Fight Child Malnutrition In Rohingya Refugee Camps]]>Jill Robbins如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/18/3223/

"Take a bite," Sufiya Begum tells her 18-month-old daughter, Romina Khatun. Romina is eating special food because she has not eaten enough healthy food. The condition is called malnutrition.

Begum brings her daughter to a Save the Children nutrition center in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, once a week for an examination. There, the workers check Romina's weight and height. They measure around her upper arm. About 11 percent of children younger than 5 in the Rohingya refugee camps have some form of malnutrition.

The rate is better than it was in 2017, when the figure was almost 20 percent. But it is still not acceptable. The United Nations' children's agency, UNICEF, says children with severe acute malnutrition are at 10 times greater risk of dying than those with normal food intake. Plus, even moderate malnutrition can block normal growth.

Joseph Senesie is a UNICEF nutrition expert. He explains why a good diet is important.

"From pregnancy until the child is two years of age, that's 1,000 days, if the child is not fed well, and the child's brain will not develop well."

Brain development affects the child's educational progress and, later, job possibilities.

More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have escaped to southern Bangladesh from neighboring Myanmar since August 2017. They fled a Burmese military campaign against them that U.N. investigators described as "genocidal" in aim.

Myanmar denies the accusations. It says its operation was to answer attacks by Rohingya militants.

The 1 million Rohingya in Cox's Bazar make up the largest refugee camp in the world. The refugees depend on humanitarian aid for basic needs.

At 85 nutrition centers across the camps, workers examine children and, in case of severe malnutrition, give them special food full of protein, vitamins and minerals. The food "gives a lot of energy and other minerals that make corrections" for the lack, says Mohammad Ruhul Amin of Save the Children.

Their families are given more of the food to take home for the children to eat between their weekly visits to the center.

Zainab Bibi is the mother of an 11-month-old boy. She says, "Now we're getting help with nutrition and my son is healthier and he seems happier too." There was major improvement within three weeks. Bibi says that is because he is getting the special food and she is getting lessons on nutrition and cleanliness. The lessons are for mothers and expecting-mothers.

Amin says, "We hope these lessons can prevent more children from ever becoming malnourished."

There are fruit and vegetable stands in the camps, but many families cannot buy food because they have no money. For many refugees, that means just rice and lentils.

"Rice and lentils are not a balanced diet," Amin says. "He says it is important to eat a mix of foods.

For many refugees, that is not possible yet. Now, about one-third of the refugees are in families that get electronic cards with a monthly credit from UNICEF. They use the cards at food markets that sell fresh fruits and vegetables. The U.N.'s World Food Program expects all of the families to have the cards by the end of the year.

I'm Jill Robbins.

Dave Grunebaum reported on this story for VOA News. Jill Robbins adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

acute – adj. very serious or dangerous: requiring serious attention or action

diet n. the food that a person or animal usually eats​

malnutrition - n. the unhealthy condition that results from not eating enough food or not eating enough healthy food; poor nutrition

lentil n. a type of flat, round seed

Are there refugees living in your country? How are aid groups helping them? Write to us in the Comments Section.

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/18/3223/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/18/3223/VOA Special EnglishFri, 17 May 2019 23:56:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Taiwan Approves Same-Sex Marriage in First for Asia]]>Susan Shand如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/18/1378/

Taiwan's legislature voted Friday to legalize same-sex marriage. It became the first region in Asia to recognize the rights of same-sex couples.

The new legislation gives couples many of the tax, health insurance and child care rights available to male-female married couples.

Before the vote, Taiwanese lawmakers were under pressure from two sides: gay activists and religious groups opposed to the measure.

Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen supported the same-sex marriage bill. She wrote: "On May 17th, 2019 in Taiwan, Love Won. We took a big step toward true equality, and made Taiwan a better place." Her comments appeared on the American news and social media service Twitter.

"It's a breakthrough, I have to say so," said Shiau Hong-chi. He is a professor of gender studies and communications management at Shih-Hsin University in Taiwan.

Thousands of people demonstrated Friday morning in the rainy streets outside the parliament building before the vote. Many protesters carried signs reading "The vote cannot fail." About 50 opponents sat nearby and gave speeches in support of marriage between only men and women.

Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled in May 2017 that the constitution permits same-sex marriages. The court gave parliament two years to amend the island's marriage laws.

The court order got gay rights groups pushing for fair treatment. It also increased activism by Christian groups and supporters of traditional Chinese family values. They note the importance of marriage and producing children.

The first same-sex marriage law in Asia

Religion, conservative values and political systems that discourage gay activism have slowed moves toward same-sex marriage in many Asian countries. However, Thailand is exploring the legalization of same-sex civil partnerships.

"This will help (fuel a) debate in Thailand, and hopefully will help Thailand move faster on our own partnership bill," said Wattana Keiangpa of the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health.

Phil Robertson is the deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch. He said Taiwan's actions should kick "off a larger movement across Asia to ensure equality."

Taiwan's acceptance of gay relationships began in the 1990s. That is when leaders of the Democratic Progressive Party supported the cause to help Taiwan stand out in Asia as an open society.

Taiwan is a self-governing democracy with a strong civil society. The island's political system supports rights for sexual and ethnic minorities, women, and others.

News of Taiwan's new law, however, was a popular issue on social media in China. The Twitter-like website Weibo had more than 100 million views.

A same-sex marriage supporter holds rose to mourn those who committed suicide due to discrimination during a parliament vote on three draft bills of a same-sex marriage law, outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan May 17, 2019.
A same-sex marriage supporter holds rose to mourn those who committed suicide due to discrimination during a parliament vote on three draft bills of a same-sex marriage law, outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan May 17, 2019.

Continued opposition

Opponents in Taiwan raised fears of insurance scams and children confused by having two mothers or two fathers. Both sides of the issue have held colorful street demonstrations and tried to influence lawmakers.

"This is going to cause a lot of morality problems," said Lin Shih-min. He is with the Taiwan political action group Stability of Power, which opposed the law. "Children…have the right to grow up with both a mother and a father," he said.

In November of 2018, a majority of Taiwanese voters rejected same-sex marriage in a special referendum. However, legislators supported the idea and voted separately on each item largely along party lines. They said it followed the law as well as the spirit of the island-wide vote.

"We need to take responsibility for the referendum last year and we need to take responsibility for people who have suffered from incomplete laws or faced discrimination," said Hsiao Bi-khim, a ruling party legislator. She spoke during the three-hour parliament meeting.

At least 20 same-sex couples are planning a mass marriage registration in Taipei on May 24, said a representative of the group Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan. They will hold a large gathering the next day on a street outside the presidential office, the organizer said.

The law will help Jay Lin and his partner. They want to marry and be joint parents of their two 2-year-old sons. They plan to register for a marriage permit after May 24.

"A lot of gay parents are excited about that already," said Lin, a Taipei-based technology worker.

I'm Susan Shand.

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

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

Words in This Story

couple - n. two people who are married or who have a romantic or sexual relationship

insurance - n. an agreement in which a person makes regular payments to a company and the company promises to pay money if the person is injured or dies, or to pay money equal to the value of something (such as a house or car) if it is damaged, lost, or stolen

gay - adj. : sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex

gender - n. the state of being male or female

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

view - n. something that is seen on a website

scam - n. to deceive and take money from

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

referendum - n. a public vote on a particular issue

item - n. an individual thing

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<![CDATA[ASK A TEACHER - I Wanna Understand Gonna]]>Jill Robbins如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/18/9195/

Today on Ask a Teacher, we answer a question from Valens in Rwanda.

Question:

"Please explain how to use 'gonna.'' – Valens, Rwanda

Answer:

Dear Valens,

You probably hear native English speakers on television and in movies using reduced forms of words all the time. Examples are the terms gonna, gotta, wanna, shoulda and oughta.

In spoken English, we often put words together. In the process, we also leave out some letters and the vowel sounds change a little. So the expression 'going to' becomes 'gonna.'

Reduced forms are informal speech

Here are a few examples of reduced forms in formal and informal speech:

Formal: What are you going to do tonight? Do you want to see a movie?

Informal: Whatcha gonna do tonight? Wanna see a movie?

Formal: Sorry, but I've got to do my homework. You ought to do yours, too.

Informal: Sorry, but I gotta do my homework. You oughta do yours, too.

Note that the informal examples are how many people normally speak. It would sound very formal and, as a result, strange to pronounce every sound of every word. This shortening of sounds happens in many languages.

Use reduced forms in speech, not in writing

In English, you may not see the short forms in writing because writers are usually more careful to spell each word. But when a writer wants to show how a person is really speaking, these short forms can appear in books and, more commonly, in popular culture.

Compare these examples from popular movies. The first is the reduced form of 'Get out of there!'

  1. (phone rings. Tom Cruise answers) Cruise: Hello. Voice: Get outta there! They know. Get out!
  2. Woman: Get outta there.
  3. Man: Don't talk to him. Get outta there!

Here are examples of 'It's going to blow.' [explode]

  1. Ironman: Got a nuke comin' in. It's gonna blow in less than a minute.
  2. Boy: But wait, but the plane - it's gonna blow up, it's gonna blow up!

Sometimes, people have little time to tell others about their exact problem, so they use reduced form words. But people in everyday life also use reduced forms to seem friendly.

It's fine to use terms like these when you are speaking with friends. It's better not to use them in English class or a formal situation, like an office.

Remember that you should not write the reduced forms, except in informal communication to friends or family.

That's Ask a Teacher for this week. So I've gotta get outta here.

I'm Jill Robbins.

See the end of this article for a practice activity you can try.

Dr. Jill Robbins on this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

voweln. a speech sound made with your mouth open and your tongue in the middle of your mouth not touching your teeth, lips, or other parts of the mouth

formal adj. (of language) suitable for serious or official speech and writing

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

pronounce v. to make the sound of (a word or letter) with your voice

spell v. to say, write, or print the letters of (a word or name)

nuke - n. (informal) a nuclear weapon

blow v. (informal) to explode; to damage or destroy (something) with an explosion

Do you have a question for the teacher? Write to us in the Comments Section.

Practice Activity

Say each sentence aloud. Use the reduced forms.

SentenceReduced form
I'm going to leave tomorrow.gonna
He's got to stop smoking soon.gotta
Do you want to meet my brother?wanna
They ought to bring a lunch.oughta
What are you doing here?whatcha
I will be out of town this weekend.outta

For the last sentence, did you change 'I will' to 'I'll?' You get extra points for using another reduced form, then!

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<![CDATA[AMERICAN STORIES - The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky, Part Two]]>Stephen Crane如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/18/6417/

From VOA Learning English, this is American Stories.

Our story is called "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky." It was written by Stephen Crane. Today, we will hear the second and final part of the story.

"Don't know whether there will be a fight or not," answered one man firmly, "but there'll be some shooting -- some good shooting."

The young man who had warned them waved his hand. "Oh, there'll be a fight fast enough, if anyone wants it. Anybody can get in a fight out there in the street. There's a fight just waiting."

The salesman seemed to be realizing the possibility of personal danger.

"What did you say his name was?" he asked.

"Scratchy Wilson," voices answered together.

"And will he kill anybody? What are you going to do? Does this happen often? Can he break in that door?"

"No, he can't break in that door," replied the saloon-keeper. "He's tried it three times. But when he comes you'd better lie down on the floor, stranger. He's sure to shoot at the door, and a bullet may come through."

After that, the salesman watched the door steadily. The time had not yet come for him to drop to the floor, but he carefully moved near the wall.

"Will he kill anybody?" he asked again. The men laughed, without humor, at the question.

"He's here to shoot, and he's here for trouble. I don't see any good in experimenting with him."

"But what do you do in a situation like this? What can you do?"

A man answered, "Well, he and Jack Potter -- "

"But," the other men interrupted together, "Jack Potter's in San Antonio."

"Well, who is he? What's he got to do with this?" "Oh, he's the town policeman. He goes out and fights Scratchy when he starts acting this way."

A nervous, waiting silence was upon them. The salesman saw that the saloon-keeper, without a sound, had taken a gun from a hiding place. Then he saw the man signal to him, so he moved across the room.

"You'd better come with me behind this table."

"No, thanks," said the salesman. "I'd rather be where I can get out the back door."

At that, the saloon-keeper made a kindly but forceful motion. The salesman obeyed, and found himself seated on a box with his head below the level of the table. The saloon-keeper sat comfortably upon a box nearby.

"You see," he whispered, "Scratchy Wilson is a wonder with a gun -- a perfect wonder. And when he gets excited, everyone gets out of his path. He's a terror when he's drunk. When he's not drinking he's all right -- wouldn't hurt anything—nicest fellow in town. But when he's drunk -- be careful!"

There were periods of stillness. "I wish Jack Potter were back from San Antonio," said the saloon-keeper. "He shot Wilson once, in the leg. He'd come in and take care of this thing.

"Soon they heard from a distance the sound of a shot, followed by three wild screams. The men looked at each other.

"Here he comes," they said. A man in a red shirt turned a corner and walked into the middle of the main street of Yellow Sky.

In each hand the man held a long, heavy, blue black gun. Often he screamed, and these cries rang through the seemingly deserted village.

The screams sounded sharply over the roofs with a power that seemed to have no relation to the ordinary strength of a man's voice. These fierce cries rang against walls of silence.

The man's face flamed in a hot anger born of whiskey. His eyes rolling but watchful, hunted the still doorways and windows. He walked with the movement of a midnight cat. As the thoughts came to him, he roared threatening information.

The long guns hung from his hands like feathers, they were moved with electric speed. The muscles of his neck straightened and sank, straightened and sank, as passion moved him.

The only sounds were his terrible invitations to battle. The calm houses preserved their dignity at the passing of this small thing in the middle of the street.

There was no offer of fight -- no offer of fight. The man called to the sky. There were no answers. He screamed and shouted and waved his guns here and everywhere.

Finally, the man was at the closed door of the saloon. He went to it, and beating upon it with his gun, demanded drink. The door remained closed.

He picked up a bit of paper from the street and nailed it to the frame of the door with a knife. He then turned his back upon this place and walked to the opposite side of the street. Turning quickly and easily, he fired the guns at the bit of paper. He missed it by a half an inch.

He cursed at himself, and went away. Later, he comfortably shot out all the windows of the house of his best friend. Scratchy was playing with this town. It was a toy for him.

But still there was no offer of fight. The name of Jack Potter, his ancient enemy, entered his mind. He decided that it would be a good thing if he went to Potter's house, and by shooting at it make him come out and fight. He moved in the direction of his desire, singing some sort of war song.

When he arrived at it, Potter's house presented the same still front as had the other homes. Taking a good position, the man screamed an invitation to battle.

But this house regarded him as a great, stone god might have done. It gave no sign. After a little wait, the man screamed more invitations, mixing them with wonderful curses.

After a while came the sight of a man working himself into deepest anger over the stillness of a house. He screamed at it. He shot again and again. He paused only for breath or to reload his guns.

Potter and his bride walked rapidly. Sometimes they laughed together, quietly and a little foolishly.

"Next corner, dear," he said finally.

They put forth the efforts of a pair walking against a strong wind. Potter was ready to point the first appearance of the new home. Then, as they turned the corner, they came face to face with the man in the red shirt, who was feverishly loading a large gun.

Immediately the man dropped his empty gun to the ground and, like lightning, pulled out another. The second gun was aimed at Potter's chest.

There was a silence. Potter couldn't open his mouth. Quickly he loosened his arm from the woman's grasp, and dropped the bag to the sand.

As for the bride, her face had become the color of an old cloth. She was motionless. The two men faced each other at a distance of nine feet.

Behind the gun, Wilson smiled with a new and quiet cruelty.

"Tried to surprise me," he said. "Tried to surprise me!" His eyes grew more evil. As Potter made a slight movement, the man pushed his gun sharply forward.

"No, don't you do it, Jack Potter. Don't you move a finger toward a gun yet. Don't you move a muscle. The time has come for me to settle with you, and I'm going to do it my own way -- slowly, with no interruption. So just listen to what I tell you."

Potter looked at his enemy. "I haven't got a gun with me, Scratchy," he said. "Honest, I haven't." He was stiffening and steadying, but at the back of his mind floated a picture of the beautiful car on the train. He thought of the glory of the wedding, the spirit of his new life.

"You know I fight when I have to fight, Scratchy Wilson. But I haven't got a gun with me. You'll have to do all the shooting yourself."

His enemy's face turned pale with anger. He stepped forward and whipped his gun back and forth before Potter's chest.

"Don't you tell me you haven't got a gun with you, you dog. Don't tell me a lie like that. There isn't a man in Texas who ever saw you without a gun. Don't think I'm a kid." His eyes burned with anger and his breath came heavily.

"I don't think you're a kid," answered Potter. His feet had not moved an inch backward. "I think you're a complete fool. I tell you I haven't got a gun, and I haven't. If you're going to shoot me, you'd better begin now; you'll never get a chance like this again."

So much enforced reasoning had weakened Wilson's anger. He was calmer. "If you haven't got a gun, why haven't you got a gun?," he asked. "Been to church?"

"I haven't got a gun because I've just come from San Antonio with my wife. I'm married," said Potter. "And if I had thought there'd be a fool like you here when I brought my wife home, I would have had a gun, and don't you forget it."

"Married!" said Scratchy, not at all understanding.

"Yes, married. I'm married," said Potter, clearly.

"Married?" said Scratchy. Seemingly for the first time, he saw the pale, frightened woman at the other side. "No!" he said.

He was like a creature allowed a glance at another world. He moved a pace backward, and his arm, with the gun, dropped to his side.

"Is this the lady?" he asked.

"Yes, this is the lady," answered Potter.

There was another period of silence.

"Well," said Wilson at last, slowly. "I suppose we won't fight now."

"We won't if you say so, Scratchy. You know I didn't make the trouble."

Potter lifted the bag.

"Well, I guess we won't fight, Jack," said Wilson. He was looking at the ground.

"Married!"

He was not a student of good manners. It was merely that in the presence of this foreign condition he was a simple child of the wildlands. He picked up his fallen gun, and he went away. His feet made deep tracks in the heavy sand.

QUIZ

Try this Listening Quiz to check your understanding.

Quiz - 'The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky,' Part Two

Start the Quiz to find out

Start Quiz

Words in This Story

feverishly - adv. done in a way that involves intense emotion or activity : feeling or showing great or extreme excitement

muscle - n. a body tissue that can contract and produce movement

Old West / Wild West - expression. the western United States in its frontier period characterized by roughness and lawlessness

pace - n. a single step or the length of a single step

passion - n. a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something

saloon - n. a business where alcoholic drinks are served

saloon-keeper – n. a person who runs a bar; a bartender

whiskey - n. a strong alcoholic drink made from a grain (such as rye, corn, or barley)

Teachers, here is a lesson plan for this story:

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/18/6417/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/18/6417/VOA Special EnglishFri, 17 May 2019 23:48:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Trump's Immigration Plan Values Skills, Education over Family Ties]]>Caty Weaver如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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American President Donald Trump has offered a proposal to reform the country's immigration system.

Trump says the proposal aims to create a, in his words, "fair, modern and lawful system of immigration for the United States."

He spoke at the White House on Thursday.

The plan would involve new actions to improve border security and a rethinking of the nation's Green Card system. Those changes are designed to help non-citizens with high-level education, skills and job offers instead of relatives of those already living in the United States.

A green card is required for all foreigners interested in becoming permanent residents of the United States. Trump's proposal would keep the number of non-citizens approved for green cards each year at around 1.1 million. But the plan is a major change from the current immigration system, which has been largely based on family connections.

Proposed Immigration Plan Focuses on Skilled, Educated over Family Ties, Humanitarian Needs
Proposed Immigration Plan Focuses on Skilled, Educated over Family Ties, Humanitarian Needs

Under the plan, 57 percent of green cards would be given to people with skills or offers of employment. Only 33 percent would go to individuals with family ties to individuals already living in the U.S. American immigration officials estimated that currently about 66 percent of all green cards are given to those with family ties, while only 12 percent are based on skills.

Before Trump's announcement, U.S. officials said the plan would create a visa system based on points, similar to systems used by Canada and other countries. Many more green cards would go to top college students so they can stay in the U.S. after completing their degree programs. There would also be more green cards given to professional workers and people with high-level degrees and occupational training. Officials would also consider a person's age, English language ability and employments offers.

The plan would reduce the numbers of visas the government sets aside for refugees. It also would end the government's diversity visa lottery program. Under that program, green cards are given to citizens of countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.

FILE - A woman holds a replica green card sign during a protest march to demand immigration reform in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, October 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
FILE - A woman holds a replica green card sign during a protest march to demand immigration reform in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, October 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Challenges in Congress

Efforts to reform the U.S. immigration system have failed for almost 30 years. And Trump's proposal will face opposition from lawmakers, including members of his own Republican Party.

The Democratic Party wants a plan to deal with the millions of immigrants already living in the country without a visa. They include hundreds of thousands of young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. And Republicans want to reduce overall rates of immigration.

Lisa Koop is director of legal services at the National Immigrant Justice Center. She criticized parts of the Trump proposal.

"A plan that forces families apart, limits access to asylum and other humanitarian relief, and doesn't contemplate a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other undocumented community members is clearly a political stunt intended to posture rather than problem-solve," Koop said.

DACA is short for the term Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is a policy that protects young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children from being sent back to their homeland.

Trump has worked to end the DACA program, and efforts to reach a compromise on DACA collapsed last year.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said of Trump's latest proposal, "It's not going to happen."

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is a Republican and a close ally of Trump. Graham said of the plan, "I don't think it's designed to get Democratic support as much as it is to unify the Republican Party around border security, a negotiating position."

Cars wait to cross at San Ysidro border crossing between the U.S. and Mexico, in Tijuana, Mexico, May 6, 2019.
Cars wait to cross at San Ysidro border crossing between the U.S. and Mexico, in Tijuana, Mexico, May 6, 2019.

The plan, U.S. officials say, would increase inspection at ports of entry, build a border wall in some areas, and aim to reduce the number of people seeking asylum at the border.

Mark Krikorian is executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that calls for lower immigration rates. He praised what he called a "very positive effort" on legal immigration, but said it was "undermined by the embrace of the current very high level of immigration."

I'm Caty Weaver.

Hai Do wrote this story for VOA Learning English. His report was based on stories from VOANews.com and The Associated Press. George Grow was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

green card - n. an identification card permitting the holder to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely

access - n. a way of getting near, at or to something

contemplate - v. to look carefully at

stunt - n. something that is done to get attention

posture - n. the attitude a person or group has toward a subject

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

embrace - n. the act of accepting something

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<![CDATA[Can Australia's Election Winner Energize a Slowing Economy?]]>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:
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Australians have a choice between tax cuts and greater public spending when they vote in general elections on Saturday.

The elections give voters what has been described as the clearest choice on economic policy in years from the two main political parties.

Whoever wins will face an economy growing at likely its slowest rate in 10 years, while the jobless rate has climbed higher. This could lead Australia's central bank to cut interest rates for the first time since 2016.

Many experts argue that government intervention in the economy could, in fact, prove helpful.

Australia has avoided an economic recession since 1991. Yet there are signs of trouble, as housing prices slide in the cities of Sydney and Melbourne. In addition, wage growth and consumer spending have slowed.

As a result, economists say they expect the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut its main interest rate from a record low 1.5 percent later this year. The economists spoke with the Reuters news agency in late April.

During the election campaign, the center-right Liberal-led ruling coalition and opposition Labor party have each promised budget surpluses. The reason: rising prices for iron ore and coal - the nation's top export earners.

But while Australian exports are expanding, the rest of the economy is not.

Economic growth is expected to slow to 1.7 percent during the current quarter from one year ago. That would be the weakest growth rate since late 2009.

Voting on wages

Studies of likely voters show Labor holding a narrow lead over the Liberal-National coalition. Experts expect the election to be decided by just a few seats.

The coalition is promising a series of tax cuts, with personal rate reductions set in the April budget to take effect in July.

The Labor Party is more interventionist. It has promised to end major tax breaks. It proposed to set a living wage above the lowest legal rate of A$18.93 an hour to help people meet their needs and avoid poverty. Labor leader Bill Shorten says this election is a "referendum on wages."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Labor's wage policies would harm the economy. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports his position.

Those policies "would force many businesses to choose between cutting the hours of their employees or laying people off," the business group noted in March.

Different ideas about the role of government

The Liberal-National coalition has publicized its record as a strong economic manager, a message that has affected voters.

An independent study at the end of April found that 'managing the economy' was very important for 33 percent of Australians. In fact, 37 percent of those asked said they trusted the coalition to do the job.

Frank Stilwell is an economist and professor with the University of Sydney. He likens concerns about debt and deficits to an "accountant's view" of the economy.

"Most countries, most of the time, run deficits and that's fine," said Stilwell. "The bigger question is how would the winner here respond to continuing depressing economic growth?"

During the 2008 and 2009 financial crisis, the Labor government provided A$8.5 billion in payments to low- and middle-income Australians.

Stilwell said, "It was what we needed, it was very well done and it worked,"

I'm Jonathan Evans.

The Reuters news agency reported this story. George Grow adapted the report for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Words in This Story

consumer – n. someone who uses economic goods and services

quarter – n. a three-month period, such as April through June

referendum – n. a public vote on a proposal or measure

negative adj. lacking good or promising qualities

manager – n. someone responsible for business activities

accountant - n. a person whose job is to keep and inspect financial records

view – n. a sight; the ability to see something

income – n. earnings

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

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<![CDATA[Huawei's $105 Billion Business at Risk after Effective US Ban]]>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:
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The United States has effectively banned the Chinese company Huawei from building next-generation, or 5G, mobile communications networks in the country.

U.S. officials say Huawei will give information it collects to the Chinese government. They are warning other countries that the company is a national security risk.

U.S. officials have also put rules in place for American companies that export products to Huawei.

International technology companies are worried about the effects of these moves on the technology industry.

In Beijing, a Chinese Commerce Ministry official said, "China will take all necessary measures" to ensure the rights of Chinese companies. Spokesman Gao Feng the United States should avoid actions that may hurt trade talks with China.

The two countries are having a trade war that is partly about a struggle for international economic and technological power.

Reaction to US decision

Some observers say the actions of the Trump administration will likely worsen the already tense situation.

The export restriction puts the possibility "of continued trade negotiations into doubt," said Eurasia Group experts in a report.

Huawei would be the largest business ever put under export controls. The new rules require Huawei to get U.S. government approval to buy American technology, said Kevin Wolf. He served as assistant secretary of commerce for export administration during the presidency of Barack Obama.

"It's going to have…effects through the entire global telecommunications network because Huawei affiliates all over the (world) depend on U.S. content,' Wolf said. He added that if Huawei and its business partners cannot get the computer software or equipment they need, their operations could collapse.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order that bars American companies from using telecom equipment made by businesses said to be a national security risk.

The president's executive order does not identify a country or company by name. But it follows months of U.S. complaints about Huawei.

U.S. justice and intelligence officials say China's economic espionage and the stealing of trade secrets happen all the time. But they have not shown any evidence that any Huawei equipment in the U.S. or elsewhere has been compromised. Huawei denies involvement in Chinese spying.

Legal basis for executive order

The U.S. law used for the order is called the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act. It has never before been used in a way that restricts an entire industry. It has been used mainly to seize the money of drug dealers, terrorists or collapsed corrupt governments.

Huawei is the world's largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment. The U.S. government believes that equipment from Chinese companies is a risk to U.S. internet and telecom networks.

For the past 10 years, American officials have warned that using Huawei technology is a national security risk. The company, they say, could use the equipment for espionage on behalf of China.

Huawei warns that preventing it from doing business in the United States would slow down the start of next-generation communications technology.

"We are ready and willing to (talk to) the U.S. government and come up with effective measures to ensure product security," the company said in a statement.

The restrictions "will not make the U.S. more secure or stronger," the company said. It said the United States would be limited to low quality, yet more costly, mobile systems.

In a statement, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai called the executive order a "step toward securing America's networks."

"It signals to U.S. friends and allies how far Washington is willing to go to block Huawei," said Adam Segal. He is a cybersecurity director at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations.

Huawei says it supplies 45 of the world's top 50 telephone companies. But only about 2 percent of telecom equipment purchased by North American carriers was Huawei-made in 2017.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

The Reuters News Agency reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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

Words in this Story

doubt - n. to believe that something may not be true or is unlikely

global - adj. involving the entire world

affiliate - n. to closely connect with or to something such as a program or organization as a member or partner

content - n. the things that are in something

software - n. the programs that run on a computer and perform certain functions

complaint - n. the act of saying or writing that you are unhappy or dissatisfied with something

espionage - n. the things that are done to find out secrets from enemies or competitors

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<![CDATA[American, British Teams Share $10 Million XPRIZE Award]]>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:
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A California company and a British-based group are sharing a $10 million award for developing programs to help children teach themselves how to read.

The two winners are the Kitkit School, based in Berkeley, California, and the educational nonprofit organization onebillion of London.

Nearly 200 teams from 40 countries entered the competition. They sought to become the latest winner of an XPRIZE. Money for the international award comes from inventors, billionaires and philanthropists. Their aim is to make the world a better place through technology.

Businessman Elon Musk announced the two winners at a ceremony Wednesday night in Los Angeles, California. The event recognized and honored all five of the finalists. The XPRIZE For Global Learning was worth $15 million, with the money coming from Musk. Each finalist received $1 million. The two winners each received an additional $5 million.

The XPRIZE Foundation, a non-profit group, reports that more than 250 million children worldwide cannot read or write.

The goal of the competition was to develop an open-source software program, which was put on computer tablets donated by Google. Then the devices were given to thousands of children in 170 villages in Tanzania for testing.

Representatives from onebillion, Jamie Stuart, third from left, and Andrew Ashe, fourth from left, and representatives from KitKit School, Sooinn Lee, third from right, and Gunho Lee, second from right, receive the XPRIZE Children's Literacy award.
Representatives from onebillion, Jamie Stuart, third from left, and Andrew Ashe, fourth from left, and representatives from KitKit School, Sooinn Lee, third from right, and Gunho Lee, second from right, receive the XPRIZE Children's Literacy award.

The five finalists spent 15 months improving the software. They had to develop programs filled with games that would interest children and hold their attention. The programs used pictures, letters, numbers and sounds to help the users teach themselves to read, write and do simple mathematics.

The games would show children letters and pictures, let them write over letters to learn how to write, and even read books to them.

When testing began, XPRIZE officials said only two percent of the children could read a simple sentence in Swahili, their native language. Three-fourths of the boys and girls had never attended school. Many had to be shown how to power up the device. But 15 months later, 30 percent of the children had gained basic reading skills.

Both winning teams said the hardest part was developing software at their home bases, putting it on tablets and hoping the children would understand how to use it.

"We had to learn fast and work closely with partners who were in East Africa," said Sooinn Lee, who co-founded Enuma Inc. The company operates Team Kitkit School.

"It often felt like driving in the dark," Lee added.

Yet all five finalists developed operational, open-source software, which will be put on the internet for anyone to use. Judges decided that the two winners did the best when it came to producing results.

The success among the finalists likely came as a surprise to critics. Some people wondered whether the goal could be reached when the XPRIZE Foundation announced the competition five years ago.

"All our experts said, 'Are you sure about this,'" remembered Emily Musil Church. She is chief of prize operations for XPRIZE.

The winners of the prize Wednesday night will now get to work making their software available to as many people as possible.

Lee said Kitkit's efforts will include making a version of its software for smartphones, which are widely used in many developing countries. And, onebillion wants to offer its software in a number of languages to reach as many people as possible.

Judith Hermetter is onebillion's chief of communications. She said the software will mean a lot to users around the world.

"This will be transformational for them, their communities and their countries."

I'm Bryan Lynn.

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

Words in This Story

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

source - n. a person, book, etc., that gives information

tablet - n. a flat, rectangular computing device that is used for connecting to the Internet, watching videos, reading books, etc.

transformational - adj. relating to a complete or major change in someone's or something's appearance, form, etc.

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<![CDATA[EVERYDAY GRAMMAR - A Simple Sentence with Seven Meanings]]>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:
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In some languages, speakers say each word in a sentence with equal stress. That is true for Japanese, for example. But, as you know, that is not true for English. If you are listening to this program, you just heard me add stress to the word "not" to help make that message clear.

When we talk about stress in spoken language, we are talking about saying something louder and holding the sound a little longer. English speakers use two kinds of stress together when they speak: word stress and sentence stress.

Word stress is saying one syllable of a word louder and longer than the other syllables. The word "painting," for instance, has two syllables. The stress is on the first syllable.

Sentence stress is saying a word or words in a sentence louder and longer than the other words.

On this Everyday Grammar program, I will use a simple sentence to show you what that sounds like and how meaning can change completely when the sentence stress changes.

Rachel Smith is an American English pronunciation expert based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her YouTube channel, Rachel's English, has become a respected tool for learning about pronunciation.

Smith notes that, in English, even when you use the same words, you can get very different meanings.

A stress exercise

Today, we will do a listening exercise to explore the connection between sentence stress and meaning.

I chose a sentence that English language teachers have been using for years. By the end of the program, you will understand its simple genius.

It goes like this:

I didn't say he stole the money.

Naturally, some words carry a little more stress than others. That is just how English works. But notice that one single word doesn't grab your attention. Yet, by putting stress on one word each time, we can give the seven-word sentence seven different meanings.

So, let's get started with the exercise.

Listen to the sentence again:

I didn't say he stole the money.

I think you can identify which word is being stressed. But do you know what the stress means?

The speaker stressed the word "I" more than all the other words. But what does she mean? She is trying to say that she is not the person who said the man stole the money. Somebody else said it.

Now, listen to what happens when we move the stress to the second word:

I didn't say he stole the money.

Here, the speaker's meaning is, "It is not true that I said he stole the money. You think I said it but I did not."

Now, let's move the stress to the third word and see how the meaning changes:

I didn't say he stole the money.

What does the speaker mean now? It sounds like she wanted to suggest that the man stole the money. But she did not want to directly say it.

Alright. Now for the next one. By now you might be able to guess the meaning. Listen here:

I didn't say he stole the money.

Here, the speaker is suggesting that someone else stole the money, not the man identified in the sentence.

Now, we move to the fifth word in our example. Let's hear how it sounds:

I didn't say he stole the money.

What the speaker is trying to say here is, "Maybe he just borrowed the money. Maybe he didn't steal it."

Onto the next one, word number six. This one might be a little tricky, so pay attention:

I didn't say he stole the money.

In this case, the speaker is suggesting that she is talking about some other money, not the specific money being discussed.

And, finally, we have this last example.

I didn't say he stole the money.

Here, the speaker is suggesting that the man stole something else. For example, maybe he stole jewelry or some other valuables.

Closing thoughts

Well, I hope you enjoyed this exercise.

At home, you can practice saying the sentence seven times, moving the stress to a different word each time. Some of you may feel strange about putting stress on one specific word. But it is a communication tool that sounds perfectly natural in English when used correctly.

As you pay attention to native English speakers, you will notice that we use the tool often. You can find examples on television and in films, for example. Try repeating what the speakers say.

Native English speakers often depend on sentence stress to understand what someone else is saying. It can be just as meaningful as word choice.

So, improving your sentence stress will help you to express your intended meaning more clearly as you speak. It will also help you to understand English speakers better.

I'm Alice Bryant.

Alice Bryant wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

stressn. greater loudness or force given to a word or part of a word in speech

syllablen. any one of the parts into which a word is naturally divided when it is pronounced

pronunciationn. the way in which a word or name is pronounced

channeln. a television, radio or internet station

geniusn. a part of something that makes it unusually good or valuable

grabv. to get the attention or interest of someone or something

guessv. to form an opinion or give an answer about something when you do not know much about it

specificadj. special or particular

practicev. to do something again and again in order to become better at it

intendv. to want something to express a particular meaning

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/17/2162/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/17/2162/VOA Special EnglishFri, 17 May 2019 00:01:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Learning English Broadcast]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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Learning English use a limited vocabulary and are read at a slower pace than VOA's other English broadcasts. Previously known as Special English.

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/9450/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/9450/VOA Special EnglishThu, 16 May 2019 03:39:00 UTC
<![CDATA[ARTS & CULTURE - Statue of Liberty's New Museum]]>John Russell如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/6867/

A new museum is opening at the Statute of Liberty, to replace a smaller one that had been inside the statue's pedestal.

Set to open on Thursday, the 2,415-square-meter museum will be the new home for the statue's first torch and many other historical pieces.

John Piltzecker is the National Park Service's top administrator for the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.

Piltzecker explained that the old museum's small size limited the number of people who could visit it.

The new museum is open to anyone who comes to Liberty Island, with admission included in the price of the ferry ticket.

Cameron Ringness is the project designer at FXCollaborative, which created the museum's look.

The Great Hall at Ellis Island, circa 1912, where immigrants underwent medical and legal examinations before immigration officers. (NPS/Statue of Liberty NM)
The Great Hall at Ellis Island, circa 1912, where immigrants underwent medical and legal examinations before immigration officers. (NPS/Statue of Liberty NM)

Ringness noted that the new museum is meant to connect to Lady Liberty, using the same granite stone that is part of the statue pedestal. "We wanted to enhance the feeling that it's really special to be in proximity to the statute," Ringness said.

Inside, there are three main spaces. One theater shows the history and meaning of the statue. Another space shows what statue designer Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi's work room looked like.

In the third space, visitors can take pictures of themselves. They can also write about what liberty means to them, as they look at the torch and a copy of the statue's face.

That last part was important, said Edwin Schlossberg. Schlossberg is the president and lead designer at ESI design, which created the exhibition spaces. He noted that the statue "was built to congratulate the United States for fighting the civil war to free slaves." Schlossberg added that the idea of struggling for liberty has been important to the Statue's history. "That idea had to continue as a core value of this experience," he said.

I'm John Russell.

Deepti Hajela reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

pedestal – n. the base of a column or other tall object

artifact – n. a simple object (such as a tool or weapon) that was made by people in the past

proximity – n. the state of being near

replica – n. an exact or very close copy of something

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/6867/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/6867/VOA Special EnglishThu, 16 May 2019 03:29:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Sherpa Climber Reaches Top of Mount Everest for Record 23rd 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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/5077/

Sherpa climber Kami Rita reached the top of Mount Everest on Wednesday for a 23rd time. By doing so, he broke his own record for the most successful climbs of the world's highest summit.

Rita reached the summit with other climbers and all of them were reported to be safe, said a Nepalese official at the mountain's base camp.

Two other climbers have reached the 8,850-meter high summit 21 times each, but both of them have retired from mountain climbing.

"It is my profession, but at the same time I am setting a new world record for Nepal, too," the 49-year-old Rita told The Associated Press last month.

He first climbed Everest in 1994 and has been making the trip nearly every year since then.

Rita is one of many Sherpa guides whose expertise is necessary to the safety and success of the hundreds of climbers who seek to stand on top of the world.

His father was among the first Sherpa guides employed to help climbers reach the summit, and Rita followed in his footsteps. In addition to Mount Everest, Rita has climbed other mountains that are among the world's highest. They include K-2, Cho-Oyu, Manaslu and Lhotse.

Rita was at Everest's base camp in 2015 when a combination of rocks, ice and snow came down the side of the mountain. The avalanche killed 19 people. After that tragedy, he came under intense family pressure to stop mountain climbing, but in the end decided against it.

"I know Mount Everest very well, having climbed it 22 times, but at the same time I know I may or may not come back," he told the AP last month. "I am like a soldier who leaves behind their wives, children and family to battle for the pride of the country."

FILE - In this April 4, 2019, file photo, record holding Sherpa guide Kami Rita checks oxygen cylinders and other supplies needed for climbing Mount Everest, in Kathmandu, Nepal. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File)
FILE - In this April 4, 2019, file photo, record holding Sherpa guide Kami Rita checks oxygen cylinders and other supplies needed for climbing Mount Everest, in Kathmandu, Nepal. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File)

Sherpa guides and their work

Kami Rita has spoken up for other Sherpa guides, who he said do not get the recognition they have earned.

He said that before climbers reach the summit to take pictures announcing their success, there are months of hard work done by Sherpas. The Sherpas are the ones who take care of setting up the camps, carrying the loads on their backs, cooking food and carrying oxygen tanks.

Perhaps most importantly, it is Sherpas who each year fix ropes and supports over icefalls and holes that make things safer for the climbers who will follow them.

Sherpa tribespeople mostly cared for yak and worked as traders deep within the Himalayas until Nepal opened its borders in the 1950s. Their physical strength and knowledge of the mountains quickly made them sought-after guides. They also helped foreigners climb Everest.

On Tuesday, it was a team of Sherpa guides who again were the first to reach the summit this year, completing their work of setting up ropes and lines for other climbers.

There are 41 different teams with a total of 378 climbers who have been permitted to climb Everest during this year's spring climbing season. There are an equal number of Nepalese guides helping them to get to the summit.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

George Grow adapted this story based on Associated Press news report. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

summit – n. the highest point; the top-most level

profession n. an occupation

pride – n. self-respect; feeling satisfaction resulting from one's actions

tank – n. a large container

yak – n. a long-haired animal native to the Himalayas

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/5077/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/5077/VOA Special EnglishThu, 16 May 2019 03:28:00 UTC
<![CDATA[State Abortion Bans Fuel Battles in US High Court]]>Ashley Thompson如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/4721/

Lawmakers in the American state of Alabama have given final approval to a ban on nearly all abortions. The bill is part of an effort in several states to have the U.S. Supreme Court reconsider a women's right to end a pregnancy.

Alabama's Republican governor, who has long identified as anti-abortion, signed the bill into law on Wednesday.

The states of Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have all recently approved bans on abortion once a fetus's heartbeat is detected. A heartbeat can develop by the sixth week of a woman's pregnancy. That is before most women know they are pregnant.

The Alabama bill goes further. It seeks to ban all abortions, even in cases of rape. The only exception would be when a woman or girl's health is at serious risk.

The bill would punish doctors who provide abortions with up to 99 years or life in prison. Under the bill, women seeking or undergoing abortions would not be punished.

Senator Clyde Chambliss (R), center, is seen with other senators during a state Senate vote on the strictest anti-abortion bill in the United States at the Alabama Legislature in Montgomery, Alabama, May 14, 2019.
Senator Clyde Chambliss (R), center, is seen with other senators during a state Senate vote on the strictest anti-abortion bill in the United States at the Alabama Legislature in Montgomery, Alabama, May 14, 2019.

Aiming to overturn Roe v. Wade

Alabama Senator Clyde Chambliss argued in support of the bill. The Republican lawmaker said the reason for passing the bill was "so that we can go directly to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe versus Wade."

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that a Texas law criminalizing abortion violated a woman's constitutional right to privacy. The ruling, known as Roe v. Wade, protected a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion.

America's legal system is based on the principle that courts follow rulings laid down in earlier judicial decisions. The Roe v. Wade ruling has faced repeated challenges but has not been overturned.

However, with the addition of two new conservative justices that President Donald Trump appointed to the court, anti-abortion lawmakers hope to have the ruling overturned.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court with its conservative majority voted 5-4 to overturn an unrelated Supreme Court case from 1979. In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer noted, "Today's decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the court will overrule next."

Back in Alabama, Senator Chambliss said, "While we cannot undo the damage that decades of legal precedence under Roe have caused, this bill has the opportunity to save the lives of millions of unborn children."

Dana Sweeney chants during a rally against a ban on nearly all abortions outside of the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)
Dana Sweeney chants during a rally against a ban on nearly all abortions outside of the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

Opposition

Critics have promised to challenge the bill. Randall Marshall, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said his organization is writing a complaint.

Democrats criticized the ban as a way to control women and as a waste of taxpayer money. Democratic Senator Bobby Singleton said that under the ban, doctors who perform abortions could serve more prison time than rapists.

The group Physicians for Reproductive Health said the near total ban on abortions would have a disastrous effect on healthcare. In a statement, board member Dr. Yashica Robinson said, "Physicians will be unwilling to help patients in need, even when continuing pregnancy is detrimental to a patient's health…out of fear of being scrutinized by the criminal justice system."

In answer to the new laws against abortion rights, American actor and activist Alyssa Milano has called for a sex strike using the social media hashtag #SexStrike. She urged women to refuse sex with men "until we get our bodily autonomy back."

I'm Ashley Thompson.

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

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

Words in This Story

abortion - n. a medical procedure used to end a pregnancy

detect - to discover or notice

challenge - v. to question the authority

dissent - v. to publicly disagree with an official opinion

precedence - n. the condition of being more important than something else

opportunity - n. a situation in which something can be done

complaint - n. a formal charge saying that someone has done something wrong

detrimental - adj. causing damage or injury

scrutinize - v. to examine carefully

autonomy - n. the state of existing or acting separately from others

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/4721/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/4721/VOA Special EnglishThu, 16 May 2019 03:25:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Amazon Boxing Machines Work Much Faster than Humans]]>Bryan Lynn如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/0546/

There have been many reports in recent years that warn of future job losses as machines replace humans in many industries.

Many companies, however, have denied they plan to use robots to replace workers. They say that, instead, machines will work along with humans to improve work processes. Some businesses have also said that many workers replaced by technology can be retrained to keep their jobs.

U.S.-based online seller Amazon is one company that has already added robot assistance to some of its warehouse operations. Now, a new report from Reuters news agency describes one Amazon process that could replace many humans.

In this Feb. 13, 2015 file photo, a worker places an item in a box for shipment,at a Amazon.com fulfillment center in DuPont, Washington.
In this Feb. 13, 2015 file photo, a worker places an item in a box for shipment,at a Amazon.com fulfillment center in DuPont, Washington.

Amazon has added new machines in warehouses that can fully load boxes in preparation for shipping, Reuters reported. The news agency says it got the information from two people who worked on the automation project for Amazon.

Goods marked with identifying information enter the machine on a moving belt. The machine has a computer system that recognizes each product and designs and creates a box to exactly fit its size and shape. The machine then places the products inside the box and marks the container for shipping.

An Italian technology company named CMC built the system called CartonWrap. Officials there did not comment for the story. But Reuters said people who worked on the Amazon project said the machines can process about 600 to 700 boxes an hour. This is about four to five times faster than humans could do the job.

The machines require one person to load products, another to refill the box material and a third to be available to fix possible issues with the machine, Reuters reported. Unlike people, the machines can operate continuously without breaks.

The people involved in the project said Amazon has so far only used the machines at a small number of its 55 U.S. warehouses. Each warehouse employs about 2,000 people.

Amazon reportedly has considered putting the systems in many of its U.S. warehouses. If that happens, up to 24 jobs could be removed from each warehouse, Reuters reported. This could amount to more than 1,300 total cuts in jobs.

The news agency reported it is unclear when the machines might be added to additional warehouses. Such major deployments of new technology at companies generally take a long time because they require many tests and approvals.

A robot organizes containers at the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, Feb. 5, 2019.
A robot organizes containers at the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, Feb. 5, 2019.

A spokeswoman for Amazon provided a statement to Reuters. "We are piloting this new technology with the goal of increasing safety, speeding up delivery times and adding efficiency across our network," the spokeswoman said. "We expect the efficiency savings will be re-invested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created."

Dave Clark, Amazon's top vice president of worldwide operations, tweeted about the Reuters report. He noted that the system being tested is good because it "makes packages smaller with less overall cardboard waste." And on the issue of technology replacing humans, he wrote: "For all this fear of lost jobs - the #1 issue for most of us is finding enough people to fill the jobs we have and the new ones we are creating."

Amazon has been growing its worker base for years and is one of the largest U.S. employers. After facing criticism for low wages and long working hours, the company announced an increase in starting pay for all U.S. employees to $15 an hour. Amazon has already moved to automate part of its warehouse operations. For example, Amazon uses robot machines to price goods and transport products to workers in warehouses.

Last month, a Reuters reporter visited a fulfillment center in Baltimore, Maryland. Amazon officials there told the reporter that widespread automation is unlikely to happen quickly. A major reason for this is that Amazon and other businesses have failed to find the right kind of robotic hand. It has been difficult for companies to develop a robotic hand that can handle many different kinds of products with the same care and effectiveness as humans.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Reuters news agency reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

How do you think machines will change the world of work in the future? Should technology be restricted to protect human jobs? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Quiz - Report: Amazon Boxing Machines Work Much Faster than Humans

Start the Quiz to find out

Start Quiz

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

Words in This Story

warehouse n.large building for storing goods to be sold

automation n.the controlling of something using machines and not people

belt n.part of a machine that moves objects

delivery n.the taking of things from one place to another

efficiency n.a good use of time and energy, without wasting time and money

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/0546/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/16/0546/VOA Special EnglishThu, 16 May 2019 02:33:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Learning English Broadcast]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/15/1837/

Learning English use a limited vocabulary and are read at a slower pace than VOA's other English broadcasts. Previously known as Special English.

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/15/1837/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/15/1837/VOA Special EnglishWed, 15 May 2019 02:18:00 UTC
<![CDATA[HEALTH & LIFESTYLE - Strong Sense of Smell May Be Linked to Longer Life]]>Pete Musto如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/15/0939/

Older adults with a poor sense of smell may die sooner than those who have a better sense of smell, a new study suggests.

The study was a project of researchers in the United States that was ongoing for over 13 years. They asked nearly 2,300 men and women to identify 12 common smells. All the subjects were from 71 to 82 years of age.

The researchers gave the adults scores, from zero to as high as 12, based on how many smells they identified correctly.

During 13 years of follow-up investigation, over 1,200 of the subjects died.

When the study was launched, none of the adults were weak. They could walk a little under half a kilometer, climb 10 steps and independently complete daily activities.

In the latest findings, the researchers noted that those with a weak nose were 30 percent more likely to die by year 13 than people with a good sense of smell. The findings were reported last month in the scientific publication Annals of Internal Medicine.

Honglei Chen was the lead writer of a report on the study. He is a doctor with Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

Chen said the connection between a poor sense of smell and an increased risk of dying was limited to adults who first reported good-to-excellent health. This suggests that a poor sense of smell is an early and sensitive sign for worsening health before it is recognizable in medical tests.

"Poor sense of smell is likely an important health marker in older adults beyond what we have already known about," noted Chen. He was talking about links to memory loss through dementia, Parkinson's disease, a poor diet and safety risks.

People who started out the study in excellent or good health were 62 percent more likely to die by year 10 if they had a poor sense of smell, his team reported. But smell did not appear to make a meaningful difference in death rates for people who were in fair to poor health at the start of the study.

With a poor sense of smell, people were more likely to die of brain and heart diseases, but not of cancer or breathing disorders.

The results also suggest that a poor sense of smell may be an early warning for poor health in older age that goes beyond dementia or other neurodegenerative diseases. These often signal the beginning of a weakening of the mind or body.

Dementia and Parkinson's disease explained only 22 percent of the higher death risk tied to a poor sense of smell. Weight loss explained just six percent of this connection, researchers estimated. That leaves more than 70 percent of the higher mortality rates tied to a weak nose unexplained.

The connection between a poor sense of smell and mortality risk did not appear to change based on sex or race. It also did not change based on individuals' other qualities, such as the way they live or ongoing health conditions.

One limitation of the study is that the older adults were relatively active. This makes it possible that results might be different for younger people or for individuals who are weak, the study noted.

Researchers also only tested smell at one point in time. They did not look at whether changes in subjects' ability to smell over time might influence mortality. Researchers also lacked information about medical causes of a weak sense of smell.

Annals of Internal Medicine published an editorial with the report.

In it, Vidyulata Kamath noted that as people age, they may not know their sense of smell is worsening. For that reason, doctors may want to test the sense of smell in older patients who are at risk of disease or injury.

Kamath is with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

"The take-home message is that a loss in the sense of smell may serve as a bellwether for declining health," Kamath wrote.

I'm Pete Musto.

Lisa Rapaport reported this story for the Reuters news agency. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. What other senses do you think might be connected to your overall health? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

score(s) – n. the number of points that someone gets for correct answers on a test or exam

beyondprep. more than something

neurodegenerativeadj. causing the brain or nerves to become weaker or less able to function as time passes

mortalityn. the death of a person or animal

bellwethern. someone or something that leads others or shows what will happen in the future

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/15/0939/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/15/0939/VOA Special EnglishWed, 15 May 2019 02:17:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Argentinian Scientist Uses TV Game Show Winnings to Finance Research]]>Jill Robbins如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/15/6217/

Argentina is facing an economic crisis. Government critics have been protesting cuts in spending for scientific research. But those cuts do not mean the country's research projects have come to a halt.

In fact, one scientist has found an interesting way to raise money: winning money on a television game show.

Marina Simian is a biologist for Argentina's National Scientific and Technical Research Council. Last week, she competed on the local version of the TV program "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

On the show, people answer questions of general knowledge for a chance to win money. As contestants answer questions correctly, the amount of money they win increases. The questions also become more difficult.

"Who Wants to be a Millionaire" first appeared on television in Britain in 1998. Since then, different versions of it have been broadcast in over 100 other countries.

During her appearance on the show, Marina Simian said she needed the prize money to support her cancer research. Simian is the head of a laboratory researching treatments for breast cancer and other forms of the disease. She was able to answer enough questions correctly on the show to win 500,000 pesos, or $11,000, to pay for laboratory supplies.

"I am not a hero. I used a strategy that was a bit creative or different to get financing for my work group," Simian said. She spoke to a reporter at the National University of San Martín in Buenos Aires.

Marina Simian, a medical researcher, poses for a picture with members of her team May 9, 2019. (REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian)
Marina Simian, a medical researcher, poses for a picture with members of her team May 9, 2019. (REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian)

In recent years, government support for science research has become less secure in recession-hit Argentina. The value of the Argentinian peso continues to drop against the value of money of other countries. The weaker exchange rate has also weakened people's spending power. This is especially true when it comes to buying equipment internationally in United States dollars.

It is common for researchers to buy equipment from other countries, using U.S. dollars, because more equipment is available for purchase that way, at lower costs.

Jorge Aguado is a high-level science and technology official for Argentina's government. He told the Reuters news agency that research budgets have increased since President Mauricio Macri took office in 2015. But he admitted the nation's economic troubles have caused delays in releasing money for research.

Aguado added that fewer Argentine scientists were returning to the country after doing research overseas. Just 41 returned last year, down from 90 in 2013.

Argentina has three Nobel Prize winners for science, but researchers have long expressed concerns over a lack of resources.

Delays in financial support are why Simian decided to compete on the game show as the nation watched on live television.

She heads a laboratory where she and other researchers study resistance against cancer medications. The project received financial support in 2017. But Simian said the money has been coming in small amounts, and last year she only received half of what was expected.

Simian discussed the problems she faces during her appearance on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." She said she hopes her appearance will bring more attention to the work researchers are doing.

"I cannot believe the impact this has had. I hope it will help us talk about what is happening in science and technology. In the end, that is what matters to us scientists," Simian told the Reuters news agency.

"We love what we do. We do it with great effort, but we need the minimum conditions to work. If there are no changes in the economic direction for science, I see it becoming very complex."

I'm Jill Robbins.

Miguel Lo Bianco and Cassandra Garrison reported on this story for the Reuters news service. Pete Musto adapted their report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. How important is it that scientists have dependable financial support for their work? Write to us in the Comments Section.

Words in This Story

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

creativeadj. having or showing an ability to make new things or think of new ideas

impactn. a powerful or major influence or effect

minimumadj. least or lowest possible in amount or degree

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/15/6217/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/15/6217/VOA Special EnglishWed, 15 May 2019 01:32:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Is It Time for Vietnam's Companies to Go Overseas?]]>Susan Shand如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2019/05/15/7898/

The job of the U.S. ambassador in Hanoi is to represent American interests in Vietnam. Next month, the ambassador will try something new. He plans to take Vietnamese businesses to the United States.

Daniel J. Kritenbrink is the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam. He and his team have been asking Vietnamese companies to send a business group to Washington, D.C.

"Investing in the United States is one of the best decisions that Vietnamese firms can make, especially as the country's economy continues to…expand," Kritenbrink said.

Over the past year, U.S. embassy officials have been holding events in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for Vietnamese businesses. Their goal is to persuade the companies to send representatives on the trip, which is planned for June 10 to 12.

The idea for the business delegation comes as Vietnam's economy is expanding. Many companies are considering if the time has come for them to expand overseas.

For the past 20 years, Vietnam has built a big presence as an export powerhouse. And, as Kritenbrink noted, the United States is the biggest market for those exports.

But many Vietnamese think the country's businesses should take it to the next step. Instead of just shipping products overseas, they want companies to set up operations and offices around the world.

Some companies have already begun expanding. The electronics business FPT has opened up in Japan and the telecommunications company Viettel is serving markets from Burundi to Peru.

U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink, left, shakes hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, right, as he meets with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Hanoi, Vietnam, Monday, July 9, 2018.
U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink, left, shakes hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, right, as he meets with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Hanoi, Vietnam, Monday, July 9, 2018.

Smaller businesses are also considering the expansion idea. Saigon Innovation Hub, Sihub, announced a program last year to provide support to start-up companies that want to go overseas. The program is named 'Runway to the World.'

Sihub wants "to gather all local and international resources to realize the…mission of boosting economic growth," Huynh Kim Tuoc said. He is the managing director of Sihub, which is under the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology.

Supporters say international expansion is the next step in the development of businesses in Vietnam. In the 1980s, the Communist government started permitting a market economy to grow.

In the 1990s, the U.S. government lifted its trade restrictions on the country. Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization in the early 2000s. It is now a leading exporter of rice, clothing and telephones to the international market.

Vietnam is still reporting increases in its Gross Domestic Product, foreign direct investment (FDI) and FDI-driven manufacturing.

"We are seeing an increasing number of local electronics players expressing interest to venture overseas for growth,' said Standard Chartered Bank official Nirukt Sapru.

But there could be problems.

Some observers worry that the growing trade war between China and the United States could hurt Vietnam's exports. If China's economy slows down a lot, Vietnamese exports to that country will fall. Others worry about U.S. President Donald Trump's other tariff fights with countries like Japan and the European Union.

Vietnamese companies hope that going international will both protect their home economy from foreign trade tensions and help build Vietnam's national brand.

I'm Susan Shand.

Ha Nguyen reported this story for VOANews.com. Susan Shand adapted the report for Learning English. The editor was George Grow.

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

Words in This Story

resource – n. something that a country has and can use to increase its wealth

mission – n. a task or job that someone is given to do

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – n. the total value of the goods and services produced by the people of a nation during a year not including the value of income earned in foreign countries

venture – n. an undertaking that is new or different that usually involves risk

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

brand – n. particular kind or type of something

]]>
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<![CDATA[EDUCATION - US Schools Consider New Methods for Dealing with Active Shooters]]>Ashley Thompson如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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Americans are remembering students who died in recent weeks while trying to stop gunmen at two schools in the United States. Some people have praised the students for their actions, calling them heroic.

Their actions demonstrate growing public support for guiding students on what they can do, in some situations, to stop armed attackers. Experts say educators should offer teachers and students as many choices as possible for how to deal with an active shooter - including fighting back.

On April 30, a gunman opened fire at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The university sent students messages on their phones that read "Run, Hide, Fight."

Riley Howell chose to fight. He lost his life trying to stop the shooter. The local police chief described the 21-year-old student as "the first and foremost hero." He said if Howell had not tackled the gunman, more students could have died. Along with Howell, one other student died in the attack.

Nine days later, Kendrick Castillo was killed trying to stop a gunman who had entered the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado.

The school sits less than 15 kilometers from Columbine High School. That is where, 20 years ago, two gunmen killed 12 students and a teacher.

Like Howell, the 18-year-old Castillo was described as a hero whose actions helped save lives.

Kendrick Ray Castillo, 18, was killed during a shooting Tuesday at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
Kendrick Ray Castillo, 18, was killed during a shooting Tuesday at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

The STEM school uses a "Locks, Lights, Out of Sight" method for dealing with active shooters. A school official would not say whether the school had ever suggested students fight back against an active shooter.

But student Brendan Bialy had thought about it on his own. And, on May 8, he joined Castillo in diving toward the gunman and taking the gun away. Bialy, who is also 18, survived the shooting.

The next day, he told reporters, "I don't like the idea of running and hiding….Somebody like that, I'm going to fight them there."

Brendan Bialy speaks about his part in stopping the attack at the STEM School Highlands Ranch during a news conference, May 8, 2019, in Englewood, Colo.
Brendan Bialy speaks about his part in stopping the attack at the STEM School Highlands Ranch during a news conference, May 8, 2019, in Englewood, Colo.

There always have been students willing to take action, notes Greg Crane. He founded a for-profit group called the ALICE Institute. The name ALICE is short for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.

Crane says he created the institute in 2001 based on what had already been done by students who brought down shooters themselves.

Crane said many people have a "warrior mindset, a hero mindset." He noted the importance of providing information and training so that, in Crane's words, "when they are the first one to stand up and start moving to do something, maybe they're not alone."

The institute's training has been offered to educators from over 5,000 public school districts, Crane said. Often, police officers lead the training programs. Crane said the program does not teach ways of fighting back. Instead, it advises people to make noise, create disorder and confuse the attacker.

In the state of Maryland, Baltimore County Public Schools started offering ALICE this year.

If a shooter gets too close, students are told to find any object they can and throw it at the attacker. Students also should shout and make other loud noises. The idea is to create enough disorder to escape.

Young children are told not to make physical contact with the attacker. But teachers and older students have that choice, said George Roberts, the head of Baltimore County Public Schools.

Roberts said, "The adults are trained how to grab the arms, grab the legs" and get control of the attacker until police arrive.

"This more active response provides a level of choice," Roberts added.

Roberts was principal at Maryland's Perry Hall High School in 2012, when a student brought a gun into the meal room and wounded another student.

Karen Shepard has several children and grandchildren. Their Athens, Pennsylvania, school district adopted ALICE training this year. Shepard says she wants the children to know not to gather in just one part of the classroom if a gunman enters the room.

"They should barricade, they should have something in their hands," Shepard said. "At least they'd have a fighting chance."

It is not an easy discussion to have with students at any age, said Joseph Eradi. He was school superintendent in Newtown, Connecticut, after a gunman killed 26 people at an elementary school there.

Eradi said, 'What we've learned over time is to provide staff and students with as many options as possible in the moment."

He added, "You never want to take that common sense element out."

I'm Ashley Thompson.

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

US Schools Consider New Methods for Dealing with Active Shooters

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Words in This Story

tackle - v. to forcefully seize (someone) and cause that person to fall to the ground

alert - adj. able to think clearly and to notice things

lock - v. to fasten the door, lid, etc., of (something) with a lock

counter - v. to do something in defense or in response to something — often + with

evacuate - v. to remove (someone) from a dangerous place

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

grab - v. to quickly take and hold (someone or something) with your hand or arms

principal - n. the person in charge of a public school

barricade - v. to block (something) so that people or things cannot enter or leave

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

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<![CDATA[US Visa Problems for Indian Doctors near Breaking Point]]>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:
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Tarkeshwar Tiwary works at a hospital in central Pennsylvania. He is a doctor and specializes in treating diseases involving the lungs.

Tiwary is among the nearly 50,000 licensed Indian doctors working in the United States. He is also one of more than 300,000 Indian immigrants waiting for legal permanent residency under an employment-based visa.

The 45-year-old doctor says he feels invested in the rural Pennsylvania community where he works. However, the wait for a green card — a pathway to becoming a U.S. citizen — is taking too long.

Tiwary told VOA, 'What was promised to me was that if I intend to immigrate, I will be immigrating in a reasonable period of time. If I had gone to any other country, like Canada or Australia, I would have been a citizen much, much earlier.'

One common path to permanent residency is through an H-1B visa. That visa is open to those with a 'specialty occupation.'

About 75 percent of all H-1B visa holders are Indian nationals. Most of them work in computer-related jobs. But a 7 percent per-country, per-year limit on employment-based green cards has increased wait times across all occupations.

David Bier is an immigration policy expert with the CATO Institute research center. He notes that wait times have been increasing since 2003-2004. He added that for a time, it seemed liked the U.S. government's Citizenship and Immigration Services stopped processing visa requests. Since then, he said, lots of people have given up.

Rural communities hit hardest

If Tiwary and other Indian doctors decide to leave the United States, the move would affect rural communities across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland. Many people living there travel more than an hour to receive specialized care.

Joanne Cochran is president and chief executive officer at Keystone Health, a health care provider in the city of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. She notes that nearly one in five patients in the Chambersburg area lives in poverty. About 65 percent of pediatric patients receive medical assistance. Keystone counts heavily on foreign-born family doctors, many of them from India on H-1B and J-1 exchange visitor visas.

Cochran told VOA, 'We have Indian doctors in family medicine, psychiatry… pediatrics, internal medicine, infectious disease, urgent care...It would be a huge hardship [if they were to leave].'

Mohamed Abdus Samad is also waiting for a permanent residency card. He is a medical doctor and specializes in kidney care and diseases of the kidneys.

Samad works at Chambersburg Hospital. Some of his patients travel 80 to 100 kilometers to see him. As the need for kidney specialists increases and his ties with patients grow stronger, the decision to wait for a green card becomes harder.

'They (the patients) are grateful for the care that they get, but it also puts pressure on me," said the 32-year-old doctor. "If I want to make any move, I have to think about what will happen to those patients.'

Christine Newman is one of Samad's patients. She worries it could take months to get an appointment at another hospital if Samad and other doctors with similar visa issues were to leave.

'They're doing what they're supposed to,' Newman said. '[The U.S. government] should cut through that red tape and get them in.'

Indian doctors also face other issues.

The Department of Homeland Security wants to change the rules of an employment program created during the presidency of Barack Obama. The program enables wives or husbands of H-1B visa workers to gain employment. If the rules change, it would affect about 90,000 people, mostly highly educated Indian women.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Ramon Taylor reported this story for VOA News. Jonathan Evans adapted his report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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

Words in this Story

licensed – adj. having official permission to have or do something;

pediatric – adj. of or relating to the medical care or illnesses of children

residency – n. legal permission to live in a place

red tape – n. a series of actions or complicated tasks that seem unnecessary but that a government or organization requires you to do in order to get or do something

]]>
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<![CDATA[Learning English Broadcast]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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Learning English use a limited vocabulary and are read at a slower pace than VOA's other English broadcasts. Previously known as Special English.

]]>
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<![CDATA[US Officials, Candidates Being Trained to Guard against Cyber Threats]]>Jill Robbins如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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In 2016, U.S. candidates for public office were thinking mainly about how to get elected. But at the same time, Russian agents were attacking computers and computer networks in the United States. Those cyberattacks changed American politics. The effects and costs of the Russian operation have become a major issue during Donald Trump's presidency.

And it all started when someone opened an inviting email and entered a password.

Have U.S. presidential candidates and their campaigns learned from the 2016 cyberattacks? That is a big question with less than nine months before the first event in the 2020 campaign season. Preventing future attacks will not be easy. And it will cost a lot.

Unmatched defenses

Robby Mook managed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential election campaign in 2016. He compares political campaigns to U.S. government agencies, like the Department of Defense.

"If you are the Pentagon or the NSA, you have the most skilled adversaries in the world trying to get in, but you also have some of the most skilled people working defense. Campaigns are facing similar adversaries, and they don't have similar resources…,' he said.

The Department of Homeland Security logo is seen at one of its annex facilities in Fairfax, Virginia
The Department of Homeland Security logo is seen at one of its annex facilities in Fairfax, Virginia

Mook added that U.S. campaigns generally do not employ experts to prevent cyberattacks.

Traditionally, cybersecurity has not been important for candidates, especially in the early weeks of a campaign. They need to raise money and get people to work for them during the campaign. Presidential candidates also need to pay rent for office space, talk to supporters and travel repeatedly to early voting states.

Funding campaign security

Then there is the question of how to spend money. Security systems for computer networks may cost more than a good television advertisement.

Robby Mook told The Associated Press: "You shouldn't have to choose between getting your message out to voters and keeping the Chinese from reading your emails."

Mook is now with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School in Massachusetts. He has been helping develop a plan for a nonprofit group to provide cybersecurity support and additional help directly to campaigns.

Question of trust

Other help is available from the cyber agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS. However, the campaigns of some Democratic Party candidates may feel uneasy working with an administration they are trying to defeat.

Matt Masterson is a cybersecurity adviser with Homeland Security. He says the first step will be to establish trust between the agency and different campaigns. Then, DHS can share intelligence about possible threats and the campaigns can give DHS information. The department also will test a campaign's or party's computer networks for weaknesses.

Masterson said the biggest issue is that a political campaign is a temporary operation, which has many people coming and going. It is hard to control the use of campaign computers.

John Delaney, a former congressman, was the first Democrat to announce he is a candidate for president. He sees cybersecurity as a fixed cost.

Simple technology

"It's not supercomputers cracking through your firewalls," he said. "It's really tempting emails that people respond to and give away information."

The 2016 cyberattacks were low-tech, meaning they involved only simple technology. Russian agents sent hundreds of emails to the personal and work emails of Clinton campaign workers and volunteers. The emails were made to look like they were from the campaign officials and asked the reader to activate a link and enter a password. Such emails also went to people working for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee.

After an employee gave up password information, the Russians were able to connect to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's networks. They used that to gain entry to the Democratic National Committee.

John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman
John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman

Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, fell for the same trick on his personal email account. He made the mistake of clicking on a link and entering his password. Then, Russians stole thousands of Podesta's private messages about what was happening inside the Clinton campaign.

Training and preparation

But the Clinton campaign had not ignored cybersecurity. Mook told the AP that a lot of money was spent to train campaign workers on cyber threats. They had even sent emails to test staffers' ability to detect phishing attempts.

It was easy for the Russians to attack U.S. computer networks in 2016, so the 2020 presidential election campaigns now need to take extra care. Hillary Clinton has been talking about this with Democratic presidential candidates.

"Unless we know how to protect our election from what happened before and what could happen again...you could lose," Clinton said. "I don't mean it to scare everybody. But I do want every candidate to understand this remains a threat."

California Senator Kamala Harris' campaign said it was teaching campaign workers the basic methods that prevent cyberattacks.

"All staff is being trained on threats and ways to avoid being a target," a campaign spokesperson said.

Others seeking the Democratic Party's nomination did not want to talk about the subject. Trump's re-election campaign would not talk to the AP either.

Caution at the White House

The president has often downplayed Russia's interference in 2016. He says the attacks were less serious than first thought. Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Trump's team told her not to bring up election security during her meetings with him.

Administration officials claim election security is an important issue for them. Chris Krebs is head of DHS' cyber efforts. He told lawmakers at a House committee hearing that his office is working hard to protect the election of 2020.

"I'd ask each of you: Do you know if your campaign is working with us?"

I'm Jill Robbins.

Colleen Long and Christina A. Cassidy reported on this story for the Associated Press. Jill Robbins adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

password - n. a secret series of numbers or letters that gives users rights to use a computer or computer system

manage v. to supervise or organize

NSA - n. National Security Agency

adversary - n. an enemy or opponent

rentn. a payment for temporary use of something

firewall n. a barrier or security system that controls incoming and outgoing messages

phishing - n. the custom of sending emails that look like they are from well-known companies in order to influence individuals to provide personal information

What is your country doing to prevent cyberattacks? Write to us in the Comments Section.

]]>
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<![CDATA[Amazon Pays Employees to Start Businesses]]>John Russell如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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The U.S.-based business Amazon is often called a technology company. But many people know the company best for all the products it sells on the internet.

Amazon's website offers everything from jewelry and electronics to health and beauty care products.

Now, Amazon is looking for ways to ship its products faster to buyers across the United States. It is trying to speed up product delivery times. To do that, the company announced a plan Monday: to pay its employees to give up their job and help them start a business delivering Amazon packages.

The offer comes as the company tries to decrease its shipping times for Amazon Prime members. The goal is to deliver goods to Prime members in one day.

Amazon says it will pay up to $10,000 in costs for employees who are accepted into the new delivery program.

Once accepted, Amazon says it will pay the former employees what amounts to three months of their former wages.

The offer is open to most part-time and full-time Amazon employees, including those working in warehouses and other places where products are stored.

The company, based in Seattle, Washington, did not say how many employees it expects to take them up on the offer.

The new announcement is part of a program Amazon started a year ago. That program lets anyone offer to launch an independent Amazon delivery business.

John Felton is Amazon's vice president of global delivery services. He said that more than 200 Amazon delivery businesses have been created since the company launched the program in June of 2018.

Milton Collier heads one of the delivery services. He started the business in Atlanta, Georgia about eight months ago. Since then, it has grown to include 50 vehicles and about 120 employees.

Collier says his business is already preparing for the one-day shipping goal by looking for more workers.

"We're ready," said Collier.

I'm John Russell.

Joseph Pisano reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted his report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

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

global adj. of or related to the whole world; worldwide

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

]]>
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<![CDATA[ARTS & CULTURE - Young Japanese Seek K-Pop Stardom in South Korea]]>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:
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K-pop music is popular in many countries.

This popularity has led to a number of young people leaving their home countries and going to South Korea - the center of the K-pop universe. Industry experts estimate there may be up to one million music hopefuls seeking stardom in South Korea.

Most of these young men and women are South Koreans. But a growing number come from Japan, where K-pop has a huge following.

One such K-pop wannabe is 17-year-old Yuuka Hasumi. She delayed her high school education in Japan in February and instead went to South Korea in hopes of becoming a star performer.

Nao Niitsu, 19, a college freshman from Tokyo, who wants to be a K-pop star, chooses her profile picture before an audition in Seoul, South Korea, March 16, 2019.
Nao Niitsu, 19, a college freshman from Tokyo, who wants to be a K-pop star, chooses her profile picture before an audition in Seoul, South Korea, March 16, 2019.

Hasumi knew this decision meant her life in South Korea would not be easy. She would need to spend long hours working on her voice and dance moves. There would be little time for social activities. This meant giving up much of her privacy, having no boyfriend and little or no use of her telephone.

The young woman signed up to attend the Acopia School in Seoul, a preparatory school offering young Japanese a shot at K-pop fame. Acopia teaches students the songs and dance moves, as well as the Korean language.

Such training programs are the first step for Hasumi and others trying to prepare for an intensely competitive series of auditions. All the music hopefuls dream of getting invited to perform for major talent agencies. In the end, the agencies accept only a small number of "trainees" to shape into possible stars.

Japanese Miyu Takeuchi, a trainee with the K-pop agency Mystic Entertainment, sings during a training session in Seoul, South Korea, March 22, 2019.
Japanese Miyu Takeuchi, a trainee with the K-pop agency Mystic Entertainment, sings during a training session in Seoul, South Korea, March 22, 2019.

It is difficult, Hasumi told a Reuters news agency reporter after one of her dance class workouts. She attended the class with Yuho Wakamatsu, a 15-year-old friend from Japan.

Hasumi is one of about 500 Japanese who join the Acopia School each year. The program costs up to $3,000 a month. The cost includes training activities and a place to stay.

The school can organize auditions for its students with talent agencies. Industry experts say the auditioning process has fueled a "Korean-wave" of pop culture that has spread worldwide over the past 10 years.

One of the biggest K-pop groups to explode into stardom was the South Korean boy band BTS.

Members of South Korea boy group BTS pose for the photographers on the red carpet of the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Members of South Korea boy group BTS pose for the photographers on the red carpet of the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

"They're nuts about BTS over there in Japan," said Lee Soo-chul, who belongs to the Seoul-Tokyo Forum. The private group has members from the Japanese and South Korean diplomatic and business communities.

K-pop's huge popularity in Japan comes at a time when relations between South Korea and Japan have experienced difficulties. Relations have been hurt by South Korean court rulings against Japanese companies for carrying out forced labor during Japan's 1910-1945 colonization of Korea. Many South Koreans believe Japanese officials have not done enough to take responsibility for Japan's colonial past.

But Lee says K-pop groups and well-known Korean musicians keep performing to large, sell out crowds throughout Japan. "There is no Korea-Japan animosity there."

Japanese Yuuka Hasumi, 17, who wants to become a K-pop star, sings a song as she spends time after class, in the Hongdae area of Seoul, South Korea, April 3, 2019.
Japanese Yuuka Hasumi, 17, who wants to become a K-pop star, sings a song as she spends time after class, in the Hongdae area of Seoul, South Korea, April 3, 2019.

​Rikuya Kawasaki is a 16-year-old Japanese K-pop star hopeful. "I might get criticized for being Japanese, but I want to stand on a stage and make (South Koreans) know Japanese can be this cool," she told Reuters.

Many schools and talent agencies attempt to find new recruits in Japan because it is the second largest music market after the United States.

Some Japanese have already made it big in K-pop. The three Japanese members of the girl band Twice helped make the group a success. Twice is now the second most popular band in Japan, after BTS.

Yuuka Hasumi is hopeful that K-pop can be good for relations between the two countries. "It will be good if Japan and South Korea will get along through music," she said.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

The Reuters news agency reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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

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

Words in This Story

audition v. give a short performance to try to get a job as a singer, dancer, etc.

band – n. a group of singers or other musicians

nutsadj. mad or unsound; crazy

animosity n. a feeling of hatred or anger toward someone

stage n. raised platform on which people perform

recruit n. someone who has recently joined an organization

]]>
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<![CDATA[HEALTH & LIFESTYLE - Doctors Operate on the Brain to Treat Drug Addiction]]>John Russell如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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Patient Number One is a thin man with all the hair removed from his head.

Years of drug use cost him his wife, his money and his self-respect.

Now, he meets with a surgeon who will operate on him in 72 hours. The doctor plans to cut two small holes in the man's head and connect electrodes to his brain.

Doctors have long used the treatment, known as deep brain stimulation, or DBS, for movement disorders like Parkinson's disease. Now, they are performing the first clinical trial of DBS for methamphetamine addiction at the Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, China.

Patient Number One was the first patient in the study.

The surgeon plans to implant a device that acts like a pacemaker for the brain. It electrically stimulates targeted areas.

Researchers in Europe have struggled to get patients for their DBS addiction studies. In the United States, complex social and scientific questions have made it hard to move forward with studies of the treatment.

Eight registered DBS clinical trials for drug addiction are taking place around the world. Six of those are in China. That information comes from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Patient Number One, whose last name is Yan, said doctors told him the surgery was not dangerous. "But I still get nervous," he said. "It's my first time to go on the operating table."

Dr. Li Dianyou uses a tablet computer to adjust the settings of a deep brain stimulation device implanted in the brain of a methamphetamine user named Yan, left, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, at Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, China.
Dr. Li Dianyou uses a tablet computer to adjust the settings of a deep brain stimulation device implanted in the brain of a methamphetamine user named Yan, left, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, at Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, China.

Treating Addiction in China

Before brain implants, there was brain lesioning. In China, families of heroin users paid doctors thousands of dollars to destroy small masses of brain tissue. Many patients had side effects, including emotional disorders and lost memories.

In 2004, China's Ministry of Health ordered a stop to the use of brain lesioning.

DBS builds on that history. But unlike lesioning, which kills brain cells, DBS devices offer a treatment that is, at least in theory, reversible.

In China, DBS devices can cost less than $25,000. Many patients pay with money they have saved up.

Li Dianyou is Yan's surgeon. "You can rest assured for the safety of this operation," he told Yan. "It is no problem. When it comes to effectiveness, you are not the first one, nor the last one. You can take it easy because we have done this a lot."

In fact, there are risks.

Yan could suffer brain damage. He could have had changes to his personality; he could have developed seizures. He may have even gone right back to drugs.

Bloodied white mesh covers the head of a methamphetamine user named Yan on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, three days after he had a deep brain stimulation device implanted as part of a clinical trial at Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, China.
Bloodied white mesh covers the head of a methamphetamine user named Yan on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, three days after he had a deep brain stimulation device implanted as part of a clinical trial at Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, China.

DBS in the US

Critics believe the surgery should not be permitted. They argue that these experiments fail to deal directly with the issues that drive addiction.

Scientists do not fully understand how DBS works. They still debate where they should place electrodes to treat addiction.

Two U.S. clinical trials on DBS for depression failed around five years ago. At least two U.S. laboratories dropped clinical trials of DBS for treating alcoholism over concerns about study design. The partial results did not seem to justify the risks, researchers told the Associated Press.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 500,000 Americans died of drug overdoses between 2008 and 2017. That is more than the total number of U.S. soldiers who died in World War II and Vietnam combined.

In February, the Food and Drug Administration approved a small trial of DBS for opioid use disorder.

The FDA did not comment on the action.

"People are dying," said Ali Rezai, the leader of the study at West Virginia University's Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute on Drug Abuse. "Their lives are devastated. It's a brain issue. We need to explore all options."

Nader Pouratian is a neurosurgeon at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is investigating the use of DBS for chronic pain. Pouratian said it is an "appropriate time" to research DBS for drug addiction, but only "if we can move forward in ethical, well-informed, well-designed studies."

What is this machine doing inside my head?

Yan, Patient Number One, had his surgery about six months ago. He was awake when the doctor used a drill to cut through his skull. The noise made him shake.

Later the same day, he was given drugs so he could sleep through a second operation. Doctors implanted a battery pack in his chest to power the electrodes in his skull.

Hours after, Yan still had not woken up from the anesthesia. His father began crying. Doctors wondered if his drug use had changed how his body reacted to anesthesia.

Finally, 10 hours later, Yan opened his eyes.

Two days after the surgery, doctors turned on his DBS device.

When the device turned on, he felt energized. He stayed awake that night; he said he spent the whole night thinking about drugs.

The next day, Doctor Li used a tablet computer to adjust the machine connected to Yan's head.

​The doctor asked how Yan felt. "Agitated," Yan said.

Li made a few changes. "Any feelings now?" he asked.

"Pretty happy now," Yan said.

Yan notes that he felt the changes the machine made. "It controls your happiness, anger, grief and joy," he said.

Six months later, Yan said he is still off drugs. His skin has improved and he has gained some weight.

Sometimes, in his new life, Yan touches the hard cable wiring in his neck. It leads from the battery pack to the electrodes in his brain. And he wonders: What is the machine doing inside my head?

I'm John Russell.

And I'm Alice Bryant

Erika Kinetz reported on this story for the Associated Press; Associated Press researcher Chen Si contributed to the report. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

electrode – n. a point through which electricity flows into or out of a battery or other device

addiction – n. the condition of growing dependent on something

pacemaker n. a machine for activating or controlling the heartbeat

stimulate – v. to produce activity or greater activity

alcoholism – n. a medical condition in which someone drinks too much alcohol and becomes unable to live a normal and healthy life

opioid – n. opioids are a class of drugs that include opium, heroin, and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl

ethical – adj. involving questions of right and wrong behavior

drill – n. a tool used for making holes in hard substances

battery – n. a container with one or more cells in which chemical energy is made into electricity and used to make power

adjust – v. to change

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