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。Sun, 17 Jan 2021 02:19:41 UTC<![CDATA[Missing Cat Turns Up Three Years after California Disaster]]>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/2021/01/17/3166/

A cat that many believed was killed along with its owner in a huge mudslide has been found three years later. A mudslide is a large mass of wet earth that suddenly and quickly moves down the side of a mountain. The natural disaster happened in January 2018 in the American state of California.

The Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) in Santa Barbara County says someone brought the cat to the organization last month. The animal's name is Patches. A microchip exam confirmed her identity.

Patches had been missing since January 9, 2018. On that day, a rainstorm near the area of a large wildfire sent a mudslide through hillside neighborhoods of Montecito, about 140 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles.

The mudslide killed 23 people, including the cat's owner Josie Gower. The destruction of the mudslide was so terrible that the bodies of two victims were never found.

The ASAP shelter says Patches was found less than 400 meters from where her Montecito home used to be.

This Dec. 31, 2020 photo provided by Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) in Santa Barbara County shows Patches who had been missing since Jan. 9, 2018, and believed killed along with her owner in the Montecito debris flow disaster is seen at the Animal Shelter Assistance Program in Santa Barbara, Calif. on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Patches a calico was brought in as a stray last month and a microchip scan revealed her identity. (Jillian Title/Animal Shelter Assistance Program via AP)
This Dec. 31, 2020 photo provided by Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) in Santa Barbara County shows Patches who had been missing since Jan. 9, 2018, and believed killed along with her owner in the Montecito debris flow disaster is seen at the Animal Shelter Assistance Program in Santa Barbara, Calif. on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Patches a calico was brought in as a stray last month and a microchip scan revealed her identity. (Jillian Title/Animal Shelter Assistance Program via AP)

She was reunited with Gower's partner, Norm Borgatello, on December 31.

"Though we don't know exactly what she's been doing with her life for the past three years, we can see that both Patches and Norm are thrilled to be reunited," the shelter said in a Facebook post.

Last week, a live online ceremony was held to remember the 23 victims on the third anniversary of the mudslide. The deadly event has come to be known as the "1/9 Debris Flow."

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Jonathan Evans adapted this story for Learning English based on a report from the Associated Press. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Words in This Story

reunitedv. brought together again especially after having been apart for a long time

thrilledadj. extremely pleased and excited

debrisn. the pieces that are left after something has been destroyed

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/17/3166/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/17/3166/VOA Special EnglishSun, 17 Jan 2021 02:18:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Norway Moves Quickly to Start Undersea Mining]]>Mario Ritter Jr如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/17/6591/

Norway aims to discover new resources beneath the sea, but its push into mining has raised environmental concerns.

Norway could license companies for deep-sea mining as early as 2023, its oil and energy ministry told Reuters. That could place it among the first countries to harvest seabed metals. Copper, zinc and other metals are in high demand for electric vehicle batteries, wind turbines and solar energy centers.

However, that could also place Norway on the front line of disputes over the environmental risks of mining the world's unexplored seabeds.

Norway recently announced it was preparing for an environmental study needed to start mineral exploration and mining.

Once completed, the government plans to have public comments on its environmental study and on a proposal to open areas for exploration and production by the end of 2022. A debate and a vote is expected in parliament between April and June of 2023.

'We are moving forward on this, and the momentum is high,' Oil and Energy Minister Tina Bru told Reuters.

Environmental concerns

The demand for minerals is being driven by what are often called "clean" technologies. But the process of getting those minerals from the seabed could cause environmental problems.

Environmentalists including Britain's David Attenborough have called for a temporary halt to deep-seabed mining until more is known about how it affects sea life. The environmental group Greenpeace called for a permanent ban in a recent report.

In another report, the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, known as the Ocean Panel, also called for greater knowledge about the effects of deep-sea mining. The Ocean Panel is co-chaired by Norway and has 14 member states that want to shape policy on the world's oceans.

Peter Haugan is a professor at the University of Bergen and one of the report's co-writers. He said the group is not seeking a complete "no" to seabed mining, but added that it affects sea life 'more than oil and gas extraction.'

Moving away from oil

Norway is known as a major oil producer. But, the country of 5.4 million people wants to find something to replace its top industry that is better for the environment and can grow in the future.

The move toward deep-sea mining follows three years of expeditions. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, which carried out the work, said it found copper, zinc, cobalt, gold and silver. The expeditions also discovered large amounts of lithium and the rare earth metal scandium used in electronics and metal mixtures, the Directorate said.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) researchers have estimated that there are millions of tons of copper and zinc under Norwegian waters.

Seabird Exploration maps out the seabed for oil and gas. The company plans to seek investment for a deep-sea mining company that would be listed on the Euronext stock exchange in Oslo within months.

The Cyprus-based company believes production could start by the late 2020s and could use technologies used in the oil and gas industries.

'We will need to design from scratch the production system, but the basic elements are there...it will be a mixture of mining and petroleum technology,' Seabird Executive Chairman Staale Rodahl told Reuters.

Not alone in development

Norway is not the only country exploring deep sea mining.

Japan has similar plans but its project with private companies is not expected to begin until sometime between 2026 and 2028, an official at the Japanese Agency for Natural Resources and Energy told Reuters. The timing will depend on metals prices and reducing the costs of deep-sea mining, the official said.

State-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation successfully carried out the world's first test involving the mining and raising of deep-sea minerals to the surface off Japan in 2017.

The United Nations' International Seabed Authority (ISA) oversees seabed mineral activities in international waters. The ISA has approved 30 contracts for exploration. China holds the most contracts with five.

The Jamaica-based ISA was forced to delay plans to approve rules governing the production of deep-sea minerals to 2021 from last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Norway does not have to wait for permission from the ISA because its resources are not in international waters.

Walter Sognnes is chief of LOKE Marine Minerals, a Norwegian engineering services company. Of deep sea mining, he said: 'It sounds fantastic to go deep for minerals, but remember what the oil and gas industry has achieved over the last 50 years, and you can stand on the shoulders of it.'

I'm Mario Ritter Jr.

Nerijus Adomaitis reported this story for Reuters . Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English. Bryan Lynn was the editor.

Words in This Story

license –v. to give official permission for a person or group to do some activity

battery –n. a device that stores and provides electricity

turbine –n. an engine with spinning blades that turn because of air, water or steam pressure

moratorium –n. a when a particular activity is not a permitted

extraction –n. the process of removing a natural resource from the ground and using it for industry

expedition –n. a trip undertaken by a group of people for a purpose

from scratch ­–idiom from a point at which nothing has been done yet

fantastic –n. extremely good

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/2021/01/17/6591/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/17/6591/VOA Special EnglishSun, 17 Jan 2021 02:11:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Online Campaigns to Save New York's Theaters, Businesses]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/17/6882/

New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood is filled with restaurants and other businesses that are now closed. Nearby, Broadway theaters are also dark because of COVID-19 suspensions.

The coronavirus crisis caused great economic difficulties for all these businesses. But some well-loved areas have received financial support to help them survive the difficulties. People are continuing fundraising campaigns online and on other media.

People walk past closed Broadway theaters. Photo taken on Jan. 10, 2021 (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
People walk past closed Broadway theaters. Photo taken on Jan. 10, 2021 (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Tom and Michael D'Angora are theater producers who live in Hell's Kitchen. They opened a GoFundMe campaign last month to raise money for the West Bank Cafe and Laurie Beechman Theater. GoFundMe is an online fundraising service.

The GoFundMe project raised more than $340,000 in just weeks. The campaign included a telethon, a live online event, in which many theater actors and singers performed in support of West Bank Cafe.

Andre De Shields was among those who appeared on the telethon. The famous Broadway performer is the winner of three Tony Awards, the highest honor in American theater. He is also a big fan of the West Bank Cafe.

Saving New York City Businesses and Theaters through Online Campaigns please wait Embed share Embed share The code has been copied to your clipboard.

The URL has been copied to your clipboard

No media source currently available

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/17/6882/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/17/6882/VOA Special EnglishSun, 17 Jan 2021 01:44:00 UTC
<![CDATA[WORDS AND THEIR STORIES - Short-lived Success Is a 'Flash in the Pan']]>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/2021/01/17/7678/

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

On this program we take a closer look at common words and expressions in the English language.

Today we will talk about how to describe something that shows promise of being great, but then turns out to be…not so great.

We can call this a flash in the pan.

First, let's look at the words in this expression. A flash is a sudden burst of light or fire -- here one second and gone the next. And a pan is a kind of container usually used for cooking. But it has other meanings, too. We will talk about that later.

Sometimes we use the expression "flash in the pan" for things that seem to be going well. There is hope! But then, in the blink of an eye, things turn bad. In other words, things go from good to bad very quickly.

An artist or entertainer could be described as a flash in the pan if their success happens quickly but does not last long. If a singer is a flash in the pan, we could also call him or her a one-hit-wonder. This expression describes an artist who has only one popular, or hit, song and then disappears from the spotlight.

Here is another example of how to use flash in the pan:

I thought that my new boss was going to be here for a long time. But she was just a flash in the pan. Here today, gone tomorrow.

Word experts say "flash in the pan" probably comes from an old kind of firearm called a musket. These weapons were used during the 16th to 17th century. But to understand the origin of this expression, we have to understand how a musket fired.

Experts on the website Revolutionary War Journal explain that firing a musket was complex. It took about 10 steps to fire these guns. So, the firing of a musket gun is very much a chain reaction – one action leads to another, and another, and another.

The muskets had a place for the gunpowder called a "pan." When you pulled the trigger, a piece of flint would hit a piece of steel called a frizzen. This would cause sparks to fly into the pan – also called a flash pan. This would light the gunpowder, which would then light the main charge. This, would, finally, fire the gun.

Sometimes.

Other times things went wrong in this chain reaction. For example, sometimes the charge in the pan would light but would fail to light the main charge.

The result?

The gun would not fire. When this misfire happened, people called it a "flash in the pan."

And misfires were common. Through time, the expression "flash in the pan" soon became used to describe other things.

But not VOA Learning English. It has been around for many years. So, it is not a flash in the pan. And we plan to be around for many more years to come!

And that's the end of this Words and Their Stories. Until next time, I'm Anna Matteo.

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

Words in This Story

spotlight – n. public attention or notice

gunpowder – n. an explosive mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur used in gunnery and blasting

flint – n. a massive hard dark quartz that produces a spark when struck by steel

spark – n. a small bit of burning material

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/17/7678/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/17/7678/VOA Special EnglishSun, 17 Jan 2021 00:43:00 UTC
<![CDATA[The Sound of a Foreign Word Caused Debate on US Campus]]>Dan Friedell如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/17/8200/

Last August, The University of Southern California, known as USC, became involved in a dispute over language that appeared widely in U.S. and Chinese news stories.

It started with a white communications professor talking about small words or sounds that people use while speaking to signal pauses.

Because of the coronavirus health crisis, Gregory Patton was teaching the class online in a video conference. This fact may have added to the problem.

Patton advised his business school students that they should keep the pauses, but should avoid these "filler" sounds.

"Um" and "er" are examples of these sounds in English.

In the Mandarin Chinese language, Patton said, the word people often use to fill space between thoughts is "that." The word is pronounced "ne-ga," which sounds like an English word that is offensive to Black people. It is known as "the N-word" and is used to make Black people feel less than human.

Many students were surprised to hear the sound come from a professor.

Some Black students were upset and sent a letter to the school expressing their displeasure. They said the professor should have warned them that he was about to say a word that sounded like a bad word in English.

Patton, however, said he had used the example in classes before without complaint, so he did not think about warning students.

Tom Bartlett wrote a story about the incident for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

He said the complaints led to Patton being removed from the class for the rest of the term. Patton, however, was not dismissed by the school. He is still teaching at the university today.

Bartlett said one of the main issues to come out of the incident was Patton's desire to protect his reputation. He wanted to be sure the school would support him.

"He felt as if his reputation had been harmed by the fact that this became public, and the fact that he was being accused by some students of using a racist term."

Bartlett said a group of Chinese students wrote a letter supporting Patton.

"And they were bothered by the idea that a common word in Mandarin would be seen as by others, as, you know, potentially racist even though we know it was correctly pronounced by the professor. It became a big story in China in some ways, kind of a bigger story even than it was in the United States."

Since the class was online, it was recorded. When people saw the video of the class, they were not sure why the professor's class became a problem.

Guilherme Guerreiro is a journalism student at USC. He wrote about the story for The Annenberg School of Journalism's website. Guerreiro is originally from Brazil and English is his second language. He said it is important to remember that the story came after months of racial justice protests in the United States.

"It came out of the like the Black Lives Matter protests and all that…this story happened around August, like early mid-August, and the protests and had been going on, you know, June, July, et cetera, et cetera, so it came into the wake of that."

Guerreiro said "the country was at very critical point, a very delicate point," because of the summer of protests.

Bartlett was one of the first reporters to speak with Patton after the incident. He said the professor was worried that he might not be able to continue teaching students in the business school at USC. He apologized to students who were offended. Patton also said he would change his class so he would not use a sound that might make future students uncomfortable.

Reactions from newspapers to comedy

Some commentators thought the reaction by the students was extreme. Newspapers around the U.S., from Los Angeles to New York City wrote about it. The incident even became part of a late-night talk show.

Ronny Chieng is a comedian who appears on the Comedy Central program 'The Daily Show.' He speaks Mandarin.

In September, he spoke with the host of the program, Trevor Noah. Part of the show was called "Did That USC Professor Actually Say the N-Word?"

In the segment, the two comedians seemed to consider the objection by the students hard to understand and acted like they were upset with each other. Noah, who is Black, and was born in South Africa, even proposed that the Mandarin language, which has been spoken for thousands of years, should not have the word.

Harder to communicate by video call

After an investigation, the university found that Patton had not meant to offend anyone and did not break any rules.

Patton told Bartlett, the writer for The Chronicle of Higher Education, that he did not think the story would have turned out the same way if students had been taking the class in person.

Patton said he would have heard immediately from concerned students during the class instead of after he had completed the video class for the day.

Bartlett said: "He would have been able to see the reaction of certain students, and notice that they were uncomfortable, and perhaps followed up with them, they would have had an opportunity after the class perhaps to come up and talk to him…"

Bartlett added that, when communicating by video "it's harder in a Zoom environment to read the room, to, you know, be able to sort of sense what people are, how people are reacting."

While some may see the student group's reaction as extreme, both Bartlett and Guerreiro said there was value in USC's efforts.

Guerreiro said the school has learned about being more careful with language. "There are some grievances of the community with the university," he said, adding that USC has made efforts to answer student demands. "They are still changing things. They're still doing work. They created certain offices…" he noted.

Bartlett said the story from USC fits into a higher education discussion about whether professors and students should have the freedom to discuss difficult issues in their classes.

"There's a tension often between wanting to listen and take seriously the concerns of students. And then at the same time, say, you know, there may be things that are mentioned in the classroom that may challenge what you believe, may seem to be offensive, may bring up ideas that are, that might make you uncomfortable."

He added that, he thought, at the center of this case involving USC's Patton "was just a misunderstanding, really, that then got elevated to something else."

Bartlett said there are cases where universities need to consider what they teach. But this does not seem to be one of them.

"In other cases, there are, you know, some real substantive disagreements about what's appropriate, and what is going to potentially upset certain students and sort of cross the line and what is, you know, just a normal part of the education process. And I think that's an ongoing discussion.'

I'm Dan Friedell.

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

Quiz - The Sound of a Foreign Word Caused Debate on US Campus

Start the Quiz to find out

Start Quiz

Words in This Story

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

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

reputation –n. the way people think about someone (usually of a person or group)

bother –v. to cause to feel troubled, worried or concerned

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

potentially- adv. able to become real

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

delicate- adj. easily disturbed or upset

offend- v. to cause (a person or group) to feel hurt, angry, or upset by something said or done

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

sensitive- adj. aware of and understanding the feelings of other people

grievance- n. a reason for complaining or being unhappy with a situation

elevate –v. the increase the level or importance of something

substantive –adj. important, real or meaningful

appropriate –adj. right or is correct for the situation

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/17/8200/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/17/8200/VOA Special EnglishSun, 17 Jan 2021 00:38:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Award-Winning Librarians Help During Pandemic]]>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/2021/01/16/7500/

Anyone who loves to read loves a library. The sight of thousands of books organized on shelves; the smell of old books mixed with new ones; the sound of a librarian silencing a noisy visitor – are all part of a book-lover's dream.

But libraries are much more than that.

In this digital age, libraries and the experts who run them help bridge the digital divide between those with technology and those without. Librarians help people find important information in a huge sea of material. They support literacy and a love of reading.

This is true in normal times. But libraries and librarians are even more valuable since the 2020 coronavirus, which forced most students into online education.

The American Library Association (ALA) started the I Love My Librarian award in 2008. Each year 10 are chosen for the award. ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr. noted the extreme difficulty caused by the pandemic in his praise for the 2021 award winners.

"Librarians have risen to the occasion," he said, "providing much-needed resources to their communities from a safe distance."

Library users nominate their favorite librarian for the award. They are chosen for their expert knowledge about books, their support for learning and reading, and for their contributions to the community.

Each winning librarian receives $5000, and a $750 donation to their library from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The Associated Press reported on the winners for 2021. And now the envelope please!

Jayanti Addleman is the library director at the Haywood Public Library in Haywood, California. The website I Love Libraries.org explained her work during the COVID-19 crisis. She made sure everyone, but especially people in need, could easily get a library card online and devices to help bridge the digital divide.

At Washburn University, in Topeka, Kansas, librarian Sean Bird made sure that all students taking classes online because of the coronavirus received laptops. One student wrote about Bird: "That dude changed my life. He is the reason I graduated."

Jessica Bell of Boston's MGH Institute of Health Professions won for making the library "a world-class resource for teaching and learning." She also led online events to keep students calm and connected.

Naomi Bishop at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, in Phoenix, won for being a voice and leader for social justice. Her nominators said the local medical community turned to Bishop "for up-to-date research about public health and safety best practices."

Jesse Braun of Beverly Vista Middle School Library, in Beverly Hills, California, won for leadership in providing online and physical resources during the pandemic. His nomination states that he grew the library "into a beloved, student-centered environment, where every child, every teacher, and every family could feel at home."

Adilene Estrada-Huerta of the Sacramento Public Library in California won for "outstanding outreach services to Spanish-speaking families" and Russian as well. This tech-savvy librarian also adapted the library programming to a virtual format.

Librarian Jianye He at the University of California, Berkeley, won for building community and helping Chinese teachers. Her nominees describe her as "a home away from home."

Jane E. Martellino at the International School at Dundee, in Greenwich, Connecticut won for creating an exciting culture of literacy. She has helped countless children discover the joy of reading through her programs. During the pandemic, she created a tablet-based online product for students to access digital books, stories, and learning resources.

Jennifer L. Newcome at Northeastern High School in Manchester, Pennsylvania is a research partner and source of support for both teachers and students. One nomination letter said that Newcome noticed a student who seemed hungry sitting alone in the library at lunch. So, she began bringing food for him every day and checking in with his teacher. The boy, who had been struggling in his studies, became an honor roll student.

Elizabeth Moreau Nicolai from the Anchorage Public Library in Alaska won for "promoting literacy" and other services for Alaska's young people. Her nomination said: "Her passion for equitable programming and collections have helped shape the library's goals of inclusion and service to the entire community."

I'm Bryan Lynn.

And I'm Anna Matteo.

Hillel Italie reported this story for the Associated Press. Anna Matteo adapted this story and added information from ILoveLibraries.org website for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

literacy – n. the ability to read and write

occasion – n. somewhat formal : a particular time when something happens : somewhat formal : a chance or opportunity : a situation that allows something to happen

contribution – n. something that is given to help a person, a cause, etc.

dude – n. chiefly US slang : a man

best practices – n. a procedure that has been shown by research and experience to produce optimal results and that is established or proposed as a standard suitable for widespread adoption

virtual – adj. being on or simulated on a computer or computer network

honor roll – n. especially : a list of students who have received good grades in school

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

inclusion – n. an act of taking in as part of a whole : the state of being taken in as part of a whole

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/16/7500/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/16/7500/VOA Special EnglishSat, 16 Jan 2021 04:44:00 UTC
<![CDATA[ASK A TEACHER - The Difference between Try and Attempt]]>Armen Kassabian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/2021/01/16/9086/

This week on Ask a Teacher, we answer a question from Lestyo from Indonesia.

Question:

I would like to know what is the difference between 'attempt' and 'try?' Thank you very much.

Answer:

Dear Lestyo,

Thank you for writing, and yes, we will try to help!

The words "try" and "attempt" have very similar meanings. But there is a small yet important difference between "try" and "attempt."

"Try" is more informal. You use it while speaking with friends and family. "Attempt" is more formal. You often use it while speaking and writing about reaching a goal.

Try

"Try" means to make an effort to do something. When you try something, you may not care about the result. The effort is on doing the activity more than reaching a goal. We also use "try" for doing something that we may have not done before.

Native English speakers often use the word "try" when speaking about something they want to do in daily activities. Here are two examples:

I tried a new shirt on and loved it, so I bought it.

I went to my favorite restaurant and tried a soup for the first time.

When you say "I tried a soup," it means just to taste it. However, it will mean something different if you say, "I tried to eat soup." It means you tried but could not.

Attempt

"Attempt" also means to try to do something. The meaning is similar to "try" but the result is more important than just doing the activity. You use it to show an activity or a situation that is more difficult or more official:

I attempted to get a good grade on the TOEFL test and I was successful.

He attempted to climb Mt. Everest, but the conditions were too dangerous.

Yes, you still can use "try" in place of "attempt" in both examples. But you want to use "attempt" for something special and important in someone's life.

I'm happy that you are trying to use new words every day. And I look forward to seeing your attempt to use them in the comments.

I'm Armen Kassabian.

Armen Kasabian wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

What question do you have about American English? Send us an email at learningenglish@voanews.com.

Words in This Story

informal – n. having a friendly and relaxed quality

formal adj. requiring or using serious and proper clothes and manners

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/16/9086/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/16/9086/VOA Special EnglishSat, 16 Jan 2021 04:12:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Brazilian Scientists Count Carbon in Amazon Rainforest]]>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/2021/01/15/0955/

A small group of scientists carried machetes through the Amazon Rainforest. They cut through dense plant life as the mid-morning temperature rose above 38 Celsius.

The group of men and women cut into trees. They dug into the soil and painted words across tree parts.

"It's destructive, but we only do it for a few trees," said Carlos Roberto Sanquetta. He is a forestry engineering professor at the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil.

Sanquetta led the weeklong research trip in November. The team of scientists included a botanist, agronomist, biologist and other forestry engineers. They took several samples of plants, both living and dead.

The Brazilian researchers are studying how much carbon different parts of the world's largest rainforest can store. Such storage can help remove carbon, a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the earth's atmosphere.

The scientists are working in a part of the forest about 90 kilometers from Porto Velho in Rondônia state.

"We need to understand what is the role that forests play," said Sanquetta, a member of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The panel is the world's top group of climate science experts.

Sanquetta said it is important to know how much carbon the Amazon's trees take in when unharmed and how much they can release when destroyed.

In the rainforest, it is hard work, in hot, wet conditions filled with insects. And it involves use of several tools for cutting, digging and measuring.

Raoni Rajão specializes in environmental management at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. He is not involved with Sanquetta's team but said, "These are hardworking people [willing to] get their hands dirty."

Holistic methods

The Brazilian team is just one group among hundreds of researchers seeking to measure carbon in the Amazon rainforest. The massive forest covers more than six million square kilometers in nine countries.

Some research seeks only to measure carbon in trees, but Sanquetta says his team's effort is all-inclusive. It measures carbon in soil, underbrush and dying plant matter. In addition, his team is studying carbon in reforested areas. This can offer information needed to push for reforestation efforts.

Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is the most widespread of the greenhouse gases. Trees take it in from the atmosphere and store it as carbon.

But the process also works the other way. When trees are cut down or burned, the wood releases CO2 back into the atmosphere. In Brazil, parts of the Amazon are often cut to make room for agriculture and grassland for cows.

Brazilian forestry student Mateus Sanquetta separates material collected in the Amazon to check how much climate-warming greenhouse gas a small plot of the rainforest can contain at the Federal University of Parana in Curitiba, Brazil, December 1, 2020.
Brazilian forestry student Mateus Sanquetta separates material collected in the Amazon to check how much climate-warming greenhouse gas a small plot of the rainforest can contain at the Federal University of Parana in Curitiba, Brazil, December 1, 2020.

Deforestation in the Amazon has sped up under President Jair Bolsonaro. Since he took office in 2019, at least 825 million tons of CO2 have been released from deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. That is more than is released by all U.S. passenger cars in a year.

The office of Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão leads the government's Amazon rainforest policy.

In a statement, the office said the rise in deforestation happened before the current leadership. It also said the government has been working hard to end destructive mining and lumber trafficking.

Measuring carefully

Central to dealing with the climate threat is the need to improve carbon measuring methods for more exact readings.

"Everyone wants this information," said Alexis Bastos, project leader of the nonprofit group Rioterra Study Center. The Brazilian organization provides financial support and several scientists to Sanquetta's team, which began its current line of research in 2016.

What they know so far

Early findings show that planting a mix of Amazon species leads to better carbon storage than letting the area regrow naturally.

But the findings also suggest that nothing is better than leaving forests untouched.

One hectare of untouched Rondônia forest holds an average 176 tons of carbon, based on Sanquetta's examination of Brazilian Science Ministry numbers. By comparison, a replanted hectare of forest after 10 years holds about 44 tons, and soy farms hold an average of only two tons.

After the work, the samples were taken back to the laboratory. There, the team dried and weighed them, before burning them. This lets them measure how much carbon is contained.

The team measured samples from 20 pieces of land in November. The final goal is 100 pieces of land by later in 2021.

The work could tell us "how quickly the planet could be healed," Rajão said.

I'm Alice Bryant.

Reuters news agency reported this story. Alice Bryant adapted it for Learning English. Bryan Lynn was the editor.

Words in This Story

machete – n. a large, heavy knife that is used for cutting plants and as a weapon

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

role – n. a part that someone or something has in a particular activity or situation

management – n. the act or process of deciding how to use something

panel – n. a group of people with special knowledge, skill, or experience who give advice or make decisions

underbrush – n. plants, bushes, and small trees growing under larger trees in a forest

lumber – n. wooden boards or logs that have been sawed and cut for use

species – n. a group of related animals or plants that is smaller than a genus

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/15/0955/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/15/0955/VOA Special EnglishThu, 14 Jan 2021 23:27:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Fire Destroys Thousands of Homes in Rohingya Refugee Camp]]>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/2021/01/15/9957/

A huge fire burned through an area of Bangladesh's Rohingya refugee camp in the early hours of Thursday. The fired destroyed about 550 shelters, the poor homes of an estimated 3,500 refugees from Myanmar. Another 150 refugee shops also burned to the ground.

Bangladeshi officials said there were no deaths or injuries.

A Rohingya refugee in the affected area gave photographs and video recordings of the disaster to Reuters news agency. The images show families -- including children -- digging through the smoking ruins of their neighborhood, searching for anything that might still be of value.

The Rohingya refugee camp is situated near the Bangladeshi coastal city of Cox's Bazar. In 2017 it became the largest refugee camp in the world, after at least 750,000 members of the Rohingya minority fled Myanmar. They were escaping vicious government attacks on Rohingya people and villages.

A general view during a fire outbreak in Rohingya refugee camp, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh January 14, 2021 in this still image obtained from a video. (Mohammed Arakani/Handout via REUTERS)
A general view during a fire outbreak in Rohingya refugee camp, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh January 14, 2021 in this still image obtained from a video. (Mohammed Arakani/Handout via REUTERS)

The fire happened in the E-Block area of the Nayapara camp.

"E block is completely burned down," said refugee Mohammed Arakani. "There is nothing left."

"Everyone is crying," he continued. "They lost all their belongings. They lost everything ..."

The UNHCR said it is providing shelter, clothing, hot meals, and medical care for the refugees in the affected area. Experts and officials are investigating the disaster.

Many aid organizations have established offices in Bangladesh to help the Rohingya refugees. The group Save the Children is among them. Onno van Manen directs its operations in Bangladesh. She called the fire "another devastating blow for the Rohingya people," noting the years of intense hardship they have faced already.

Mohammed Shamsud Douza is a top Bangladeshi official for refugee issues. He said the fire department spent two hours putting out the fire. He said the fire grew when gas containers inside the homes began to explode.

In recent weeks, the Bangladeshi government has moved several thousand Rohingya refugees to a low-lying island in the Bay of Bengal. It is far from the mainland. Human rights groups have protested the move saying the island is unsafe during storms.

They also argue that Bangladesh is forcing the refugees to resettle there. Bangladeshi officials deny the accusation.

I'm Anna Matteo.

The Reuters news agency reported this story. Anna Matteo adapted the content for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

vicious – adj. very violent and cruel

photograph – n. a picture made by a camera

devastating – adj. causing great damage or harm

hardship – n. something that causes pain, suffering, or loss

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/15/9957/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/15/9957/VOA Special EnglishThu, 14 Jan 2021 23:25:00 UTC
<![CDATA[French Wines Return from Year in Space]]>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/2021/01/15/1912/

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft landed off the coast of Florida Wednesday night carrying research materials, equipment and 12 bottles of French wine.

But not just any wine!

These bottles of wine and some grapevines had spent about a year in the International Space Station, orbiting the world in the name of science.

The wine will not be opened until the end of February. That is when Space Cargo Unlimited plans to open a bottle or two for an out-of-this-world wine tasting in Bordeaux, France.

Agricultural science is the main goal of the research, says Nicolas Gaume, the company's chief and co-founder. But he admits it will be fun to try the wine. He will be among the lucky few taking a taste, along with some French wine experts.

Months of chemical testing will follow. Researchers want to see how space changed the wine's sedimentation and bubbles. Sedimentation is the process in which material is carried to the bottom of a liquid.

Gaume told the Associated Press that his company's goal is to try to understand "how we're going to have an agriculture tomorrow that is both organic and healthy and able to feed humanity." Gaume added, "we think space has the key."

With climate change, Gaume added agricultural products like grapes will need to be able to live in more difficult conditions. Through a series of space experiments, Space Cargo Unlimited hopes to take what is learned to make plants stronger on Earth.

There is another reason for doing such space research. Gaume expects future explorers to the moon and Mars will want to enjoy some of Earth's nice things. "Being French, it's part of life to have some good food and good wine," he said.

The wine bottles were kept in steel containers for safety when they went to the space station on a Northrop Grumman ship in November 2019. The 320 pieces of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vines, called canes in the grape-growing business, left on the SpaceX spacecraft last March.

At this time, SpaceX's Dragon is the only spacecraft capable of returning space station experiments and other items to Earth. Others burn up in the atmosphere on their return.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

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

Words in This Story

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

grapevine – n. a climbing plant on which grapes grow

bubble – n. a tiny, round ball of air or gas inside a liquid

organic – adj. of food : grown or made without the use of artificial chemicals key

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/15/1912/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/15/1912/VOA Special EnglishThu, 14 Jan 2021 23:25:00 UTC
<![CDATA[EVERYDAY GRAMMAR - A Reason to Understand Adjective Clauses]]>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/2021/01/15/6361/

Imagine you want to answer a why question.

For example, someone asks you:

Why did you go to the train station?

Your answer might use an adjective clause.

If you do not know what that term means, do not worry. We will explain the idea in today's report.

In this Everyday Grammar, we will explore adjective clauses that describe reasons. But first, we need to begin with a few definitions.

What are clauses?

What are clauses, anyway? Clauses are groups of words that have a subject and a predicate.

Consider this example:

English grammar is fun.

English grammar is the subject. Is fun is the predicate.

Sometimes clauses are not complete sentences. Sometimes they play a part in a longer, more complex sentence. This is where we come to adjective clauses, also called relative clauses. Adjective clauses are clauses that act like an adjective. They describe or give additional information about nouns.

Consider this example:

This is the book that I told you about.

The adjective clause is that I told you about.

It describes, or gives more information about the noun, book.

Adjective clauses have many uses. They can describe nouns that refer to time, place or reason. When describing reasons, Americans often use adjective clauses immediately after the noun reason.

English speakers commonly use words such as why or that to begin these clauses. But, sometimes they do not use any words at all!

Reason + why

One common structure is the noun reason followed by an adjective clause that begins with the word why.

Imagine a situation in which beginning science students try to find out why their experiment had unusual results. Perhaps one of them finds that the measurement tools have not been cleaned. He or she might say:

This may be the reason why our results were unusual.

The adjective clause begins with the word why immediately after the noun reason.

Reason + 0

In a second common structure, there are no special words that begin the adjective clause after the word reason.

Consider the question you heard at the beginning of this report:

Why did you go to the train station?

You could say:

The only reason I went there was to meet my friend.

The reason I went to the train station was to meet my friend.

Popular music also has many examples of this structure. Consider these words from Shania Twain.

You're the reason I believe in love

And you're the answer to my prayers from up above

Reason + that

You might hear a third structure – the noun reason followed by an adjective clause beginning with the word that.

Think back to our example about the train station.

Why did you go to the train station?

You could say:

The reason that I went there was to meet my friend.

Different examples

You will hear English speakers use all of the structures that we talked about today. Sometimes you will hear them use two or more of the structures that we have talked about in the same song, speech, or discussion.

Let's listen to a few words from Callum Scott's song, You Are the Reason.

There goes my heart beating

Cause you are the reason

I'm losing my sleep

Please come back now

Note that Scott does not use a special word between the word reason and the words I'm losing my sleep.

Let's listen to a few more words from Scott's song:

There goes my mind racing

And you are the reason

That I'm still breathing

I'm hopeless now

You might be wondering why Scott used the word that in this example. In the other example, after all, he did not use any special word at all.

There are a few possible explanations. The songwriter could have used that because it sounded better. Or possibly the songwriter did not want to repeat the exact same grammatical structure throughout the song.

Closing thoughts

The next time you listen to music or shows in English, listen for how speakers describe reasons. Take note of when they use the word reason and when they use adjective clauses to describe it.

With time and practice, you will use adjective clauses with great ease!

I'm John Russell.

John Russell wrote this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

predicate – n. grammar: the part of a sentence that expresses what is said about the subject

refer to – phrasal verb to have a direct connection or relationship to (something)

practice – n. the activity of doing something again and again in order to become better at it

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/15/6361/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/15/6361/VOA Special EnglishThu, 14 Jan 2021 23:24:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Biden Proposes $1.9 Trillion Plan to Fight COVID-19, Help Economy]]>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/2021/01/15/6227/

President-elect Joe Biden is proposing a coronavirus action plan that centers on mass vaccination in the United States and more financial assistance to help the economy. The plan could cost as much as $1.9 trillion dollars.

Biden sees the pandemic as the country's biggest problem. He said last week, "That's my No. 1 concern, to get the virus under control."

The plan aims to speed up vaccination of Americans by delivering more vaccine and working closely with states and local communities to get shots into the arms of more people.

Biden has set a goal of giving out 100 million shots in his first 100 days. Right now, the U.S. is vaccinating almost one million people a day, but it needs to get up to two million to reach Biden's goal.

Biden has said the plan would have "billions of dollars" to speed up vaccination. He is also asking Americans to look past their sense of pandemic fatigue. He wants a commitment to wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and avoiding large indoor gatherings.

The president-elect wants Congress to send more money to American states to help reopen schools and to avoid laying off teachers, police officers and health workers.

Biden's incoming White House economic adviser, Brian Deese, told Reuters the measures may include direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans.

A nation divided

The plan comes as a divided nation is experiencing the pandemic's most dangerous wave yet. So far, more than 380,000 Americans have died.

Biden hopes his plan will put the country on the path to recovery by the end of his first 100 days. "It's going to be hard," Biden said Monday after he got his second vaccine dose. "It's not going to be easy. But we can get it done."

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the Biden COVID-19 plan will be the new Congress's first action this year.

But the biggest question for Biden is if he can "win the hearts and minds of the American people to follow his lead," said Dr. Leana Wen. She is a public health expert and emergency physician.

Under the Trump administration, more than 29 million doses of vaccine have been sent but only 10.3 million have gotten the first of two shots.

Biden wants to quickly increase that number by working closely with states and local communities to get more people vaccinated.

It will need cooperation "at all levels, as well as resources," said Dr. Nadine Gracia. She is the executive vice president of the nonpartisan Trust for America's Health.

Experts say, however, that the biggest problem may be public suspicion about the vaccine. Research shows it is a big problem, especially among Black Americans.

"It's important to…work to earn trust and build vaccine confidence in communities," said Gracia.

I'm Susan Shand.

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

Words In This Story

wave – n. a movement

dose – n. the correct amount of medication to be taken at one time

fatigue – n. tiredness

mask – n. a face covering

confidence – n. a feeling of trust and certainty

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/2021/01/15/6227/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/15/6227/VOA Special EnglishThu, 14 Jan 2021 23:20:00 UTC
<![CDATA[During the Pandemic, Cuba Seeks Foreign Visitors]]>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/2021/01/14/0137/

Cuba wants more foreign visitors to come to the Communist country.

The government opened beach resorts in November in an effort to help part of the economy that has been hurt by the spread of the coronavirus.

Francisco Duran of the Ministry of Public Health said recently that around 1,000 visitors were entering Cuba daily. Most of them were going to resorts where COVID-19 policies have been effective. But a small number of visitors were going to the Cuban capital, some after visiting the beach.

Cuba, like other Caribbean countries, depends heavily on foreign visitors, or tourists. Tourism represented about 10 percent of Cuba's economy in 2019. But last year, the economy shrank by 11 percent.

Luis Enrique Gonzalez runs a private eatery in Havana. "A month ago there were no foreign tourists to be seen," he said as a few guests ate at outdoor tables. Now, some Europeans, Canadians and Latin Americans have appeared, but only a few hotels are open.

"Little by little there is more movement and that's a start," Gonzalez said of the capital, which just a year ago had many tourists walking its streets.

Cuba's daily infection numbers remain low in comparison to other nearby countries. Cuban officials say there have been just 148 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

But the infection numbers have increased sharply over the past month. Flights from the United States and a few other countries were reduced as of the first of the year.

The Communist government reported that about one million tourists visited last year. It wants to increase that by 100 percent in 2021. Still, those numbers are far below the more than four million arrivals in 2019.

Visitors get tests for the coronavirus at the airport and again in five days unless they are staying at a hotel, where they are watched by a medical team. Beginning on January 10, visitors will need to have received a PCR test, a kind of coronavirus test, within 72 hours of their arrival.

Travelers staying at hotels in cities are expected to stay inside until the airport test gives a negative result. If staying in private homes, visitors must remain inside until getting the five-day test's result.

Visitors to some areas can visit the beaches and restaurants as long as they stay away from the local community.

"Who is going to come to Cuba to be shut up in a house," said Norma Hernandez, who rents out rooms in Havana.

Tour guide Carlos Diaz is happy to have some work. He said he was showing 38 German visitors around the old town recently.

"The tourists are coming back bit by bit," he said.

Two British couples said they, like the Germans, had been staying at Varadero beach. They noted the lack of tourists but praised the buildings and sense of safety.

"We will be back when everything is back to normal," Tony Kelly said.

I'm John Russell.

Marc Frank reported on this story for Reuters. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

resort – n. a place where people go for vacations

quarantine – n. the period of time during which a person or animal that has a disease or that might have a disease is kept away from others to prevent the disease from spreading

negative – adj. not showing the presence of germs or viruses

rent – v. to allow someone to use (something) in return for payment

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/14/0137/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/14/0137/VOA Special EnglishThu, 14 Jan 2021 07:41:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US to Require Arriving Passengers to Show Proof of COVID Test]]>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/2021/01/14/7039/

American health officials say that anyone flying to the United States will soon need to show proof of a negative test for COVID-19.

The new restrictions take effect on January 26.

The order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires air passengers to get a COVID-19 test within three days of their flight to the U.S.

Airlines are ordered to stop passengers from boarding if they do not have proof of a negative test. Travelers can also provide documentation that they had the infection in the past and recovered.

All air travelers aged two and older must follow the CDC order. However, passengers who only have a stopover in the U.S. before flying to another country do not have to provide proof of a negative COVID test.

The order affects U.S. citizens as well as foreign travelers. The health agency said it delayed the start date until January 26 to give airlines and travelers time to meet the requirements.

The CDC says it will consider exceptions of testing requirements for airlines flying from countries with little or no testing abilities, including some places in the Caribbean.

Aim to control new forms of virus

The expanded travel order is similar to one announced late last month for passengers coming from Britain. It is designed to try to prevent travelers from bringing in new forms of the virus that scientists say can spread more easily.

"Testing does not eliminate all risk," CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in a statement. Redfield added, when combined with other preventative measures, testing "can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations."

It is likely that the recently identified version of the virus from Britain is "in every state or most states," said Dr. Ashisha Jha. He is dean of Brown University's school of public health in Rhode Island. So far, 10 U.S. states have reported 72 cases of the new form.

COVID-19 is already widespread in the U.S., with more than 22.8 million cases reported. Johns Hopkins University reports that more than 380,000 people have died. And the country recorded 4,327 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, a one-day record high.

But the new order may stop or reduce spread of other versions of the virus, like the one recently identified in South Africa.

Airlines have been pushing for pre-flight testing instead of continued travel restrictions between the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Nicole Carriere is a spokeswoman for United Airlines. She said testing is "key to unlocking international borders and safely reopening global travel."

Others say the CDC order is unlikely to cause an immediate increase in international travel.

Henry Harteveldt is a travel expert with Atmosphere Research Group. He told The Associated Press, "People are being encouraged by their public health authorities to not travel, even domestically."

He added that he does not expect air travel to increase until the summer, after more people have been vaccinated.

I'm Ashley Thompson.

The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for VOA Learning English, with additional materials from Reuters news agency. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

negative - adj. not showing the presence of a particular germ, condition, or substance

eliminate - v. to remove (something that is not wanted or needed) : to get rid of (something)

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

global - adj. involving the entire world

encourage - v. to tell or advise (someone) to do something

authorities ​- n. people who have power to make decisions and enforce rules and laws

domestically - adv. of, relating to, or made in your own country

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/2021/01/14/7039/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/14/7039/VOA Special EnglishThu, 14 Jan 2021 02:01:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US to Require Arriving Passengers to Show Proof of COVID Test 0]]>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/2021/01/14/4680/

American health officials say that anyone flying to the United States will soon need to show proof of a negative test for COVID-19.

The new restrictions take effect on January 26.

The order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires air passengers to get a COVID-19 test within three days of their flight to the U.S.

Airlines are ordered to stop passengers from boarding if they do not have proof of a negative test. Travelers can also provide documentation that they had the infection in the past and recovered.

All air travelers aged two and older must follow the CDC order. However, passengers who only have a stopover in the U.S. before flying to another country do not have to provide proof of a negative COVID test.

The order affects U.S. citizens as well as foreign travelers. The health agency said it delayed the start date until January 26 to give airlines and travelers time to meet the requirements.

The CDC says it will consider exceptions of testing requirements for airlines flying from countries with little or no testing abilities, including some places in the Caribbean.

Aim to control new forms of virus

The expanded travel order is similar to one announced late last month for passengers coming from Britain. It is designed to try to prevent travelers from bringing in new forms of the virus that scientists say can spread more easily.

"Testing does not eliminate all risk," CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in a statement. Redfield added, when combined with other preventative measures, testing "can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations."

It is likely that the recently identified version of the virus from Britain is "in every state or most states," said Dr. Ashisha Jha. He is dean of Brown University's school of public health in Rhode Island. So far, 10 U.S. states have reported 72 cases of the new form.

COVID-19 is already widespread in the U.S., with more than 22.8 million cases reported. Johns Hopkins University reports that more than 380,000 people have died. And the country recorded 4,327 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, a one-day record high.

But the new order may stop or reduce spread of other versions of the virus, like the one recently identified in South Africa.

Airlines have been pushing for pre-flight testing instead of continued travel restrictions between the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Nicole Carriere is a spokeswoman for United Airlines. She said testing is "key to unlocking international borders and safely reopening global travel."

Others say the CDC order is unlikely to cause an immediate increase in international travel.

Henry Harteveldt is a travel expert with Atmosphere Research Group. He told The Associated Press, "People are being encouraged by their public health authorities to not travel, even domestically."

He added that he does not expect air travel to increase until the summer, after more people have been vaccinated.

I'm Ashley Thompson.

The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for VOA Learning English, with additional materials from Reuters news agency. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

negative - adj. not showing the presence of a particular germ, condition, or substance

eliminate - v. to remove (something that is not wanted or needed) : to get rid of (something)

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

global - adj. involving the entire world

encourage - v. to tell or advise (someone) to do something

authorities ​- n. people who have power to make decisions and enforce rules and laws

domestically - adv. of, relating to, or made in your own country

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/2021/01/14/4680/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/14/4680/VOA Special EnglishThu, 14 Jan 2021 02:01:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Animal Astronauts]]>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/2021/01/14/2370/

The first human moon landing happened more than 50 years ago. But did you know that human astronauts were not the first Earthlings to travel in space and circle the moon?

That honor goes to two Russian tortoises and several smaller creatures that went along for the ride.

These tortoises are not astronauts. These African spurred tortoises (Centrochelys Sulcata) live at a zoo in Guadalajara, Mexico, May 17, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Ulises Ruiz)
These tortoises are not astronauts. These African spurred tortoises (Centrochelys Sulcata) live at a zoo in Guadalajara, Mexico, May 17, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Ulises Ruiz)

Tortoises in space

On September 14, 1968, the Soviet space program sent two tortoises -- along with some flies and worms -- into space for a trip around the moon. NASA calls it "the first successful circumlunar mission carried out by any nation."

After a week-long trip, the tortoises landed on Earth by parachute in the Indian Ocean. They traveled back to Moscow on October 7.

Both tortoises survived the trip but not the experiment. NASA records state that the animals were dissected on October 11, 1968, to see how their bodies were affected by the space travel.

Dissection showed that "the main structural changes in the tortoises were caused by a lack of food and not the space travel." The tortoises had lost about 10 percent of their body weight. But they had stayed active and showed no loss of appetite.

When compared with a control group of tortoises on Earth, the space traveling creatures had a small amount of spaceflight-related atrophy. When parts of the body atrophy, they decrease in size or waste away.

The experiment demonstrated that the animals could travel around the moon and survive. But this did not mean that humans could do the same. That possibility required more testing.

Other animal space travelers

While tortoises were the first to travel around the moon, other animals have helped humans understand and explore space. On its website, NASA explains its history with animals in space.

In 1948, the U.S. began launching rhesus monkeys into space aboard a spacecraft called the V-2 Blossom. The monkey Albert I went up on June 11. On June 14, 1949, aboard another V-2 flight, Albert II reached a height of about 133 kilometers. Albert II died on impact at re-entry.

The last V-2 flight was on December 12, 1949. It involved the monkey Albert IV. On its website, NASA calls it "a successful flight, with no ill effects on the monkey until impact, when it died."

Female dog named Laika aboard the Sputnik II space capsule before its launch. (AP File Photo)
Female dog named Laika aboard the Sputnik II space capsule before its launch. (AP File Photo)

Dogs in space

While the United States was experimenting with a lot of monkeys, the Soviet Union was experimenting with a lot of dogs.

On November 3, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 2 into Earth's orbit with a dog named Laika on board. NASA scientists say that Laika died after a few hours. Sputnik 2 continued to orbit for five months and then burned up in the outer atmosphere in April 1958.

Then later that year on December 13, the U.S. launched a squirrel monkey named Gordo about 965 kilometers high in a Jupiter rocket. Scientists were able to observe his body functions.

Gordo's capsule was never found in the Atlantic Ocean. He died on splashdown when a flotation device failed. However, scientists said readings taken of his breathing and heartbeat proved that humans could survive a similar trip.

These are just a few examples of how animals have helped humans explore space. We should not forget that mice and cats have also been used to help scientists better understand how travel beyond Earth affects living things.

I'm Anna Matteo.

Anna Matteo wrote this story VOA Learning English based on NASA reports and other news articles including "These Are 7 of The Strangest Experiments Humans Have Ever Done in Space" by Michelle Starr in ScienceAlert.com.

Quiz - Animal Astronauts

Start the Quiz to find out

Start Quiz

Words in This Story

circumlunar – adj. revolving about or surrounding the moon

dissect – v. to cut (a plant or dead animal) into separate parts in order to study it

appetite – n. a natural desire especially for food

atrophy – v. decrease in size or wasting away of a body part or tissue

impact – n. the act or force of one thing hitting another

ill – adj. not well or healthy : sick or unhealthy

capsule – n. a small part of a spacecraft that is separate from the rest of the spacecraft and that is where people live and work

flotation – n. the act, process, or state of floating or of causing or allowing something to float

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/14/2370/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/14/2370/VOA Special EnglishThu, 14 Jan 2021 00:53:00 UTC
<![CDATA[WHO Experts Head to China to Study Beginnings of Virus]]>Mario Ritter Jr如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/13/1929/

Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) are expected to start their search for the beginnings of the new coronavirus when they arrive in China this week.

China's National Health Commission made the announcement in a one-sentence statement Monday. The experts will arrive on Thursday and meet with Chinese officials. No additional details were made available.

It remains unclear whether the experts will travel to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first found in late 2019.

Negotiations for the visit have taken a long time. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed concern last week over delays.

FILE - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) attends a session on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak response of the WHO Executive Board in Geneva, Switzerland, Oct. 5, 2020.
FILE - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) attends a session on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak response of the WHO Executive Board in Geneva, Switzerland, Oct. 5, 2020.

He said members of the international scientific team had already left their home countries. The trip was part of an agreement between the WHO and the Chinese government.

Earlier, a United Nations spokesperson told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "is fully supportive of Dr. Tedros' and WHO's efforts to get a team in there."

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China had approved the visit after talks between the two sides. He called it a chance to exchange opinions "with Chinese scientists and medical experts on scientific cooperation on the tracing of the origin of the new coronavirus." Zhao suggested that the origin would likely involve "multiple countries and localities."

China's government has controlled all research into the origins of the virus in the country, an Associated Press investigation found. State-operated media have spread theories that suggest the virus could have started outside of China.

An AP investigation found that China's government is handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid to scientists researching the virus' origins in southern China. But it is watching their findings, and it ordered that the publication of any information or research be approved by a new committee supervised by China's Cabinet. The AP found through internal documents that the research is under direct orders from President Xi Jinping.

The culture of secrecy is believed to have delayed warnings about the pandemic. It blocked the sharing of information with the WHO and slowed early efforts at testing. Reports say WHO officials felt frustration over not getting the information they needed to fight the spread of the deadly virus.

Australia and other countries have called for an investigation into the origins of the virus. That call has been met with anger from China.

The virus' origins have caused much speculation. Much of it centered on the likelihood that it was carried by bats and passed to humans through an intermediary animal. It is thought the animal was sold as food or medicine in traditional Chinese markets.

China has largely limited new cases, but said Monday that tests show 103 people have been infected with the coronavirus in Hebei province, bordering Beijing.

That outbreak comes as officials are trying to limit the spread of the virus during next month's Lunar New Year holiday. Officials have called on citizens not to travel, ordered schools to close one week early and carried out many tests.

China has recorded more than 87,536 total cases of the virus. Hospitals are currently treating hundreds of people for COVID-19, while about 506 other people have been separated from others. Those 506 are under observation after tests showed them to have the virus with no signs of sickness, officials said.

The Hebei outbreak has raised concern because the province surrounds Beijing. People in parts of the province are having their movements restricted and travel has been largely cut off. Those entering Beijing have to show proof of employment as well as proof that they do not have the virus.

I'm Mario Ritter Jr.

Mario Ritter Jr. adapted this AP report for VOA Learning English. Susan Shand was the editor.

Words in This Story

trace ­–v. to find out where something started

origin –n. the point or place where something begins

multiple -adj. more than one, many

internal –adj. existing within an organization such as a company or government

frustration –n. a feeling of anger or unhappiness that results from being unable to do something or being blocked from doing it

speculation –n. ideas or guesses about something that is not known

intermediary –n. a person who works with both sides in an argument, a go-between taking something from one side to another

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/2021/01/13/1929/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/13/1929/VOA Special EnglishWed, 13 Jan 2021 02:12:00 UTC
<![CDATA[FBI Warns of Armed Protests Across US Ahead of Inauguration]]>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/2021/01/13/5391/

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned of possible armed protests across the country leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.

FBI officials told news agencies they had learned about planned protests that could take place in Washington, D.C. as well as all 50 state capitals.

The warning comes after extremists attacked and occupied the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday. The mob – led by supporters of President Donald Trump – arrived as lawmakers were counting electoral votes to make Biden's win final.

The riot left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Numerous people have been charged in the violence so far. More charges are expected.

The FBI told VOA it is examining evidence suggesting that groups or individuals may be looking to incite violence in connection with the planned handover of presidential power.

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol in Washington. An Arizona man seen in photos and video of the mob wearing a fur hat w
FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol in Washington. An Arizona man seen in photos and video of the mob wearing a fur hat w

The warnings were based on "intelligence" about the protest plans, an FBI statement said.

The FBI is sharing the intelligence information with state, local and federal law enforcement partners to help them prepare for possible threats. 'Our focus is not on peaceful protesters, but on those threatening their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and destruction of property,' the statement said.

Security has been increased at state capitol buildings around the country ahead of next week's inauguration ceremony in Washington.

The chief of the National Guard Bureau, Army General Daniel Hokanson, told reporters that his organization was also looking at possible protest threats across the country. He said Guard leaders in every state were cooperating closely with local law enforcement agencies "to provide any support requested."

Members of the National Guard arrive to the U.S. Capitol days after supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Reuters)
Members of the National Guard arrive to the U.S. Capitol days after supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Reuters)

In a step to protect the nation's capital, the National Guard has been authorized to send up to 15,000 troops to Washington. Hokanson said he expected about 10,000 troops to arrive by Saturday to provide security, communications and other support.

In another security measure, the National Park Service said the Washington Monument would be closed to all visitors until January 24 because of threats of violence. The Park Service said other parts of the National Mall and roadways could also be blocked in the coming weeks.

President-elect Joe Biden told reporters he was "not afraid" of taking the oath of office outside the grounds of the Capitol on January 20. But he said it was critically important for the people who took part in last week's attack to be held accountable for their actions.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers a televised address to the nation, after the U.S. Electoral College formally confirmed his victory over President Donald Trump in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, from Biden's transition headquarters in Wilmingt
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers a televised address to the nation, after the U.S. Electoral College formally confirmed his victory over President Donald Trump in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, from Biden's transition headquarters in Wilmingt

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it was directing the U.S. Secret Service to start its inauguration security operation this Wednesday, six days earlier than planned. DHS said the decision was made because of the events of the past week and the "evolving" security threats.

Mark Pitcavage is a researcher with the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism. He told The Associated Press that officials in state capitals and other major cities should prepare for the possibility of violent protests next week.

"A lot of people were energized by what happened last week," Pitcavage said. "State capitals are a natural place where people might want to show up."

I'm Bryan Lynn.

The Associated Press, Reuters and VOA News reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the reports for Learning English. 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

inauguration – n. the act of officially putting someone into an important position, or the ceremony at which this is done

intelligence – n. secret information about the governments of other countries or the activities of certain groups

focus – v. to center attention on something

authorize – v. to give permission for something to happen

accountable – adj. responsible for one's actions

evolve – v. to develop over time

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/13/5391/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/13/5391/VOA Special EnglishWed, 13 Jan 2021 01:18:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Teachers Help Students Understand Violence at US Capitol]]>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/2021/01/13/7907/

Social studies teachers across the United States are changing their plans for lessons this week. They want to help young people make sense of the news about the violence in Washington.

Fighting apathy about politics

Karley Reising is a social studies teacher at Robert E. Fitch High School in Groton, Connecticut. 'In almost every single one of my classes, the students brought it up before I even could,' she said. And she added, '…my seniors were really struggling with what this meant about the future of our country in a way that was pretty heartbreaking.'

Reising and others said they talked about the importance of being involved with the process of government. They wanted to lead students away from the idea that there must be violence to end a political fight.

Michael Neagle teaches at Lowell High School in Massachusetts. After finishing his class on Thursday, January 7, he said it was one of the most important days he had as a teacher. He wants his students to be active in civic life. 'We don't want kids to tune out and just say, 'Well, this is how it is. Nobody gets along. Politics.' That voter apathy is so dangerous,' he said.

Teaching with morning newspapers

Mark Westpfahl, teacher in South St. Paul, Minnesota
Mark Westpfahl, teacher in South St. Paul, Minnesota

South St. Paul, Minnesota, teacher Mark Westpfahl showed the morning newspapers to his sixth-grade students learning online. His school is near the place where George Floyd died. His students asked questions about the police response that will carry into later lessons. He planned to talk in future classes about how the two events can be compared to each other. 'What was the response like? What was the media presence like?' he said.

Parents are watching

As Westpfahl taught his 10- and 11-year-old students on a video conference, three or four parents appeared without speaking. He wondered about their thoughts.

Many teachers working online record their lessons so parents can study them with their students at home. One Washington, D.C. area teacher heard that some of her students had parents in the National Guard group working at the Capitol on Wednesday. This made her think carefully about the feelings of her students and their parents.

Blake Busbin, teacher at Auburn High School in Alabama
Blake Busbin, teacher at Auburn High School in Alabama

In Alabama, 10th grade teacher Blake Busbin said he, too, thought about how students and the community would respond to his actions and words. He said he chooses his words very carefully.

Busbin is a teacher at Auburn High School. He made a point to let students watch the unrest on TV. He was a high school senior on September 11, 2001 when terrorists attacked the United States with hijacked passenger jets. At that time, the school chief did not permit television in school. Busbin felt he lost an opportunity to watch history in the making.

Careful thought and writing

The day after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, he woke early and gathered 25 photographs. He showed each one for 10 to 15 seconds without saying anything, then asked students to write poems. He wanted students to first think quietly about what happened.

The students did not write their names on the poems, and they did not read them in class. Busbin said they helped him understand students' thoughts and guide his future teaching. The poems, he said, show a desire for a more harmonious government, a more cooperative approach and a belief that things can get better.

David McMullen, teacher at Great Path Academy in Manchester, Connecticut
David McMullen, teacher at Great Path Academy in Manchester, Connecticut

In David McMullen's classroom at Great Path Academy in Manchester, Connecticut, students argued about the identity of the attackers.

He asked his students to write their thoughts about the event for future historians. 'I tell my students, they are the future's primary sources,' he said.

Hopeful note for involvement

Teachers usually stay away from voicing their opinions, or if they do talk about them, identify them as their own opinions.

Reising said the conversation among her students was difficult because many have never met face to face. She tried, however, to end the discussion on a hopeful note. As young adults, she sees her students as citizens who can be active in government without using violence.

Conor Murphy, a teacher at West Genesee High School, in Camillus, N.Y., conducts his 'Participation in Government' class, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.
Conor Murphy, a teacher at West Genesee High School, in Camillus, N.Y., conducts his 'Participation in Government' class, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.

Conor Murphy teaches at West Genesee High School in Camillus, New York. He remembered the 9/11 attacks, when he was in an American history class and watched the second plane hit the World Trade Center in New York.

He said it was important to help students understand the historical importance of such an event. A year ago, he had a similar job teaching participation in government during President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in Congress.

'But,' he said, 'I've never really had to teach anything quite so, in my opinion, profound.'

I'm Jill Robbins.

Michael Melia and Carolyn Thompson wrote this story for the Associated Press. Jill Robbins adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Quiz - Teachers Help Students Understand Violence at US Capitol

Start the Quiz to find out

Start Quiz

Words in This Story

kids – n. young people or children

tune outphrasal verb. to stop caring

apathyn. the state of not caring about something

responsen. something that is done as a reaction to something else

make a point –v. to place importance on something so it receives attention

harmonious –adj. not experiencing disagreement or fighting

primary sourcen. a document or story created at the time of an historic event

participation –n. being involved with others in doing something

profoundadj. difficult to understand or requiring deep thought or wisdom

How do you think teachers should lead discussion of the insurrection? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

For Teachers

Common Sense Media offers these resources to help teachers talk with students about the violence at the Capitol.

The Center for Civic Education has this collection of ideas for teaching about the peaceful transition of power.

Facing History offers these teaching ideas.

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/13/7907/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/13/7907/VOA Special EnglishWed, 13 Jan 2021 01:17:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Zimbabwean Girl Uses Martial Arts to Warn Against Child Marriage]]>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/2021/01/11/3171/

In Zimbabwe, some girls are forced to marry as young as the age of 10 because of poverty or for traditional or religious reasons.

One Zimbabwean teenager is using the sport of taekwondo to give girls from a poor community a fighting chance to have a better life. Natsiraishe Maritsa has been a fan of taekwondo since she was very young. Taekwondo is a Korean martial art.

Today, the 17-year-old holds taekwondo lessons outside her parents' home in the poor settlement of Epworth. The area is about 15 kilometers south of the capital, Harare.

"Not many people do taekwondo here, so it's fascinating for the girls, both married and single," Maritsa said. "I use it to get their attention." Children as young as four follow her instructions to stretch, kick, strike and punch. After class, the group talks about the risks of child marriage.

Newly married girls led one recent discussion. One by one, they describe extreme abuse they have experienced in their marriages. They describe being raped and being hungry.

"We are not ready for this thing called marriage. We are just too young for it," Maritsa told The Associated Press. She described her small group as "a safe space" for the girls to share ideas.

"I use their voices, their challenges, to discourage those young girls not yet married to stay off early sexual activity and marriage," Maritsa said.

Zimbabwe law says boys and girls cannot legally marry until they reach the age of 18. That law was passed in 2016. Child marriage, however, is widespread in the southern African nation.

For some poor families, the reason is an economic one. Marrying off a young daughter means fewer costs. The rights group Girls Not Brides says the bride price paid by husbands of these girls is "used by families as a means of survival."

An estimated 30 percent of girls in Zimbabwe are married before they reach 18, the United Nations Children's Fund says. Rising poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased pressures on families around the world to marry off their young daughters.

Maritsa's group is called Vulnerable Underaged People's Auditorium. She started the project in 2018 after seeing her friends leave school for marriage. She hopes to increase the confidence of both married and unmarried girls through the martial arts lessons and discussions.

She accepts 15 students in each lesson, she said. "The only support I get is from my parents." After class, her parents usually provide fresh juice and sweets.

Zimbabwe recently announced a ban on public gatherings. The measure is meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The ban has forced Maritsa to suspend her lessons, but she hopes to restart as soon as the country's lockdown is lifted.

Maritsa said, "From being hopeless, the young mothers feel empowered...being able to use their stories to dissuade other girls from falling into the same trap."

I'm Ashley Thompson.

The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

martial art –n. one of several forms of fighting and self-defense that are widely practiced as a sport

lesson –n. something learned from experience

fascinating –adj. very interesting or appealing

punch –v. to strike with a closed hand

challenge –n. a difficult task or problem

confidence –n. a feeling of belief that you can do something

lockdown –n. an emergency situation in which people are not permitted to move around freely

dissuade –v. to persuade someone not to do something

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/2021/01/11/3171/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/11/3171/VOA Special EnglishMon, 11 Jan 2021 02:08:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Cosmetic Surgeries Rise in South Korea During Pandemic]]>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/2021/01/11/4685/

South Korean demand for cosmetic surgery operations sharply increased in 2020.

Last year, the industry in South Korea was worth about $10.7 billion dollars. That was an increase of around nine percent from 2019. South Koreans are expected to spend around $11.8 billion this year, says Gangnam Unni, the country's largest online cosmetic surgery website.

Ryu Han-na is a 20-year-old university student. She got an operation on her nose in December.

Ryu took her classes online throughout 2020. She said the abilities to rest at home and to wear a face covering in public were important for her.

"I always wanted to get a nose job...I thought it would be the best to get it now before people start taking off masks when vaccines become available in 2021," she said as she prepared for the operation, which cost around $4,000.

"There will be bruises and swelling from the surgery but since we'll all be wearing masks I think that should help," she added.

That thinking is leading to an increased demand for such operations in South Korea. Gangnam Unni data showed its users grew to about 2.6 million last year, an increase of 63 percent from a year earlier.

However, the pandemic made it nearly impossible to sell cosmetic services to foreign patients. As a result, the industry has tried to promote its services more to people in the country and nearby.

Promote means to make something more popular or well-known.

Cosmetic surgeons say patients are interested in operations on all parts of the face. Some want operations on parts of the face that are easily hidden under coverings, such as the nose and lips. But others want operations in places that face coverings do not hide.

Park Cheol-woo is a surgeon at WooAhIn Plastic Surgery Clinic. Park was responsible for Ryu's operation.

"Both surgical and non-surgical inquiries about eyes, eyebrows, nose bridge and foreheads - the only visible parts - certainly increased," Park said.

FILE PHOTO Park Cheol-woo a director of WooAhIn Plastic Surgery Clinic conducts a nose plastic surgery of Ryu Han-na, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Seoul, South Korea, December 17, 2020. Picture taken on December 17, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
FILE PHOTO Park Cheol-woo a director of WooAhIn Plastic Surgery Clinic conducts a nose plastic surgery of Ryu Han-na, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Seoul, South Korea, December 17, 2020. Picture taken on December 17, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Surgeon Shin Sang-ho runs Krismas Plastic Surgery Clinic. Shin said many people have spent their emergency payment from the government at hospitals and surgical centers.

"I felt like it's sort of a revenge spending. I've sensed that customers were expressing their pent-up emotions (from the coronavirus) by getting cosmetic procedures," Shin said.

Pent-up emotions are feelings that have been held back or not expressed.

Government data shows that of about $13 billion in government payments, 10.6 percent was used in hospitals and drug stores. That was the third-largest area of spending behind supermarkets and restaurants. However, details of spending at hospitals were not provided.

A third wave of coronavirus remains a concern in South Korea as the country reports more daily cases. "We've seen growing numbers of cancellations...recently as people refrain more from going outside..." Park said.

I'm John Russell.

Joori Roh reported on this story for Reuters. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor. ----------------

Words in This Story

cosmetic – adj. used or done in order to improve a person's appearance

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

bruise – n. a dark and painful area on your skin that is caused by an injury

swelling -- n. an area on someone's body that is larger than normal because of an illness or injury

mask – n. a covering for your face or for part of your face:

inquiry – n. a request for information

forehead – n. the part of the face above the eyes

refrain – v. to stop yourself from doing something that you want to do

revenge – n. the act of getting back at someone or something that has wronged you

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

procedure – n. a medical treatment or operation

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/11/4685/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/11/4685/VOA Special EnglishMon, 11 Jan 2021 01:58:00 UTC
<![CDATA[You Might Be Surprised about the Riskiest Places to Live in the US]]>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/2021/01/11/7191/

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA, is responsible for preparing the United States for natural disasters.

One way the agency works to be prepared is by trying to predict where disasters might happen in the future.

The information FEMA gathers is calculated and put into a tool called the National Risk Index.

The index takes a look at natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, forest fires, tornadoes and more. It also takes population and building density into consideration.

FILE - In this Jan. 17, 1994, file photo, the covered body of Los Angeles Police Officer Clarence Wayne Dean lies near his motorcycle which plunged off the State Highway 14 overpass that collapsed onto Interstate 5, after the Northridge earthquake.
FILE - In this Jan. 17, 1994, file photo, the covered body of Los Angeles Police Officer Clarence Wayne Dean lies near his motorcycle which plunged off the State Highway 14 overpass that collapsed onto Interstate 5, after the Northridge earthquake.

Out of over 3,000 counties in the U.S., Los Angeles County in southern California is the riskiest place to live. That is home to the city of Los Angeles.

The counties in the U.S. that are home to other large U.S. cities are risky, too.

New York County, home to New York City, and Miami-Dade County in Florida have large populations, lots of buildings and homes and are close to water.

Cities that are close to water are generally considered risky due to flooding.

Other U.S. cities that have a high risk index are Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; and St. Louis, Missouri.

There are some places in the U.S. that are at high risk for natural disasters, but they do not rank as high on this list.

For example, Oklahoma County, in the state of Oklahoma, has seen over 120 tornadoes since 1950. However, FEMA says it is not as risky for tornadoes as some of the counties close to New York City. That is because if a tornado were to hit near New York, it would cause more damage and affect more people than when they hit in Oklahoma.

Susan Cutter is the director of the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at the University of South Carolina. She worked on gathering some of the data used in the FEMA study.

She explained why densely populated counties are at risk.

"A small tornado can create a large dollar loss," she said.

Mike Grimm works for FEMA. He said one reason densely populated cities rank high on this list is because many of the residents would not be prepared for a disaster if it happened. They do not think their cities are at risk.

"Just because I haven't seen it in my lifetime doesn't mean it won't happen," Grimm said.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 file photo, a parking lot full of yellow cabs is flooded as a result of Superstorm Sandy in Hoboken, NJ. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 file photo, a parking lot full of yellow cabs is flooded as a result of Superstorm Sandy in Hoboken, NJ. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

The list has its critics.

David Ropeik wrote a book called "How Risky Is It, Really?"

Ropeik said he did not think the FEMA study calculated the risk brought on by climate change well enough. He said people do not think things that happen infrequently are risky. But when they happen, they can cause a lot of damage.

He mentioned Superstorm Sandy, which flooded much of New York City in late October 2012.

Himanshu Grover researches land use and planning at the University of Washington. He studies how communities develop and how they manage climate change.

Grover said the FEMA tool was "a good start," but he did not think it paid enough attention to the frequency of a region's storms and disasters.

FEMA's Mike Grimm said the tool should help "homeowners and renters and communities to be more resilient."

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Seth Borenstein wrote this story for the Associated Press. Dan Friedell adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

calculate- v. to get a general idea about the value of something

tornado- n. a violent and destructive storm in which powerful winds move around a central point

county- n. an area of a state or country that is larger than a city and has its own government to deal with local matters

hazard- n. a source of danger

vulnerability- n. the state of being open to attack, harm or damage

infrequent- adj. an act that does not happen often

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/11/7191/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/11/7191/VOA Special EnglishMon, 11 Jan 2021 01:43:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Japan Aims to Launch World's First Wooden Satellite]]>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/2021/01/11/3398/

Japanese researchers say they are working to build the world's first satellite made of wood.

The goal is to help fight the problem of space junk. Space junk includes things like dead satellites, lost pieces of equipment and small pieces of paint. Such objects can present threats to spacecraft and satellites operating in space.

The project is a joint effort involving the company Sumitomo Forestry and Japan's Kyoto University. The development team recently announced plans for the satellite in a news release.

The researchers say the wooden satellite – which they call LignoSat – is one of several planned projects that seek to explore how wood might be used in space in the future.

The developers say wood offers several advantages over other materials commonly used to build satellites, such as aluminum and other metals.

For example, the researchers say wood does not block electromagnetic waves. For this reason, wooden structures could be used to house antenna equipment and other controlling devices, the team said in a statement.

Wooden structures would also be simpler to design and weigh less than current satellite equipment, the researchers added. Such satellites would be better for the environment because they would burn up when reentering Earth's atmosphere. They would not release polluting particles into the air and oceans.

Space junk: a growing problem

The researchers say space junk is a growing problem. Thousands of non-operating satellites are currently orbiting the Earth, and the number of new satellites continues to grow. Last year, European and United Nations agencies announced they were developing a plan for worldwide action to deal with space junk. The agencies said waste orbiting the earth must be cleaned up to make room for new satellites.

One of the leaders of the project is Japanese astronaut Takao Doi, who is also a professor at Kyoto University. He told BBC News that the driving force behind the project is the need to limit pollutants released from satellites that remain in the upper atmosphere for many years.

'Eventually it will affect the environment of the Earth,' Doi said. He added that after the first steps in the research process are completed, the team will begin "developing the engineering model of the satellite." After that, a satellite flight model will be manufactured.

The first wooden satellite could be launched by 2023.

The researchers admit that the project presents some big technological problems. These include finding a wood material that can keep its shape in severe temperatures and survive intense sunlight over a long period of time.

The Japanese project involves researching different wood-based materials and protective coatings that can hold up in the extreme conditions of space. The team is studying the construction of wooden structures using cedar and birch wood.

The researchers also plan to study how other wood products would perform in space. They want to find out whether trees could help humans in extreme environments such as space stations.

The company backing the project, Sumitomo Forestry, has also developed buildings made mainly of wood. In 2018, the company announced its largest project, a 350-meter wooden skyscraper to be built in Tokyo. It says the goal is to complete the building by 2041.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from AFP, Sumitomo Forestry Company, Kyoto University and BBC News. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

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

Quiz - Japan Aims to Launch World's First Wooden Satellite

Start the Quiz to find out

Start Quiz

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

Words in This Story

junk – n. material that is no longer of use or working

advantage – n. something that is good or desirable

antenna – n. a device used to send or receive communications signals

coating – n. a thin layer of a substance that covers an object for the purpose of protecting it or for some other reason

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/11/3398/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2021/01/11/3398/VOA Special EnglishMon, 11 Jan 2021 01:14:00 UTC