In this lesson we take a trip around Plymouth's historic Barbican and discover some interesting facts about its past. You can download a PDF with a transcript and glossary here, and see all the previous episodes on the LEWP YouTube channel.
CARTOON The cartoon by Bob from the Daily Telegraph comprises two panels. In the left-hand panel a man is sitting in front of the TV crying because the World Cup in Brazil has just finished ("It's over"). His wife, who seems unimpressed, hands him a tissue to dry his eyes. In the right-hand panel, the same man is staring excitedly at the screen because it's the first day of the Premier League ("It's started"). This time his wife, whose expression has not changed, is removing the box of tissues and handing him a can of beer.
COMMENTARY The title of the cartoon 'Ad Infinitum' is Latin for 'to infinity'. If something happens ad infinitum, it never finishes, or happens again and again. • You cannot stay here ad infinitum without paying rent. The cartoonist is making a humorous comment on fact that as soon as one football competition ends, another one begins, and so on until the end of time (or so it seems).
It's the universal trend that has stayed fashionable for centuries. So could blue jeans really be fading away? NBC reports the 2013 sales of jeans in the U.S. dropped 6 percent. That might not seem like a huge percentage, but the news outlet spoke with a chief industry analyst who said, "It's rare for denim to take such a dramatic drop." Big-name jeans designer Levi Strauss & Co. — which claims it created the first-ever pair of blue jeans all the way back in 1873 — has been hit hard by this decline. Full transcript >>
Police investigating an allegation of child abuse against Sir Cliff Richard defended their handling of the case on Friday as new potential witnesses came forward with information. South Yorkshire Police admitted it had “worked with” the BBC, which broadcast live helicopter footage of detectives arriving at the singer’s home on Thursday with a search warrant. MPs said the force had “questions to answer” over its decision to confirm a tip-off the BBC had received independently about the raid, which encouraged the broadcaster to send news crews to the flat in Berkshire. South Yorkshire Police released a statement suggesting its actions had been vindicated by the fact that “since the search took place a number of people have contacted police to provide information”, adding: “The media played a part in that, for which we are grateful.” Full story >>
VOCABULARY A raid is an action by police officers in which they suddenly enter a place in order to arrest people or search for something such as illegal drugs. • Dorset Police carried out a raid on a cannabis factory in the Boscombe area of the town – with two men being arrested.
BACKGROUND A student accused of funding terrorism in Syria walked free from court yesterday after she was cleared of trying to smuggle cash out of the UK in her knickers. University student Nawal Msaad, 27, was caught with £16,000 in euros stuffed in her underwear at Heathrow as she attempted to board a flight to Istanbul. Police believed she was due to hand the cash over to a jihadi. But after a month-long trial, a jury decided that Miss Msaad was tricked into being a mule by an old school friend. Miss Msaad was caught when the cash dropped down into her knickers as she walked through Heathrow. Read more >>
THE CARTOON The cartoon by Mac from the Daily Mail shows a woman who is going to board a plane for Istanbul at Heathrow airport. She is trailing banknotes behind her. A security officer tells his younger, more junior colleague, "I want you to be very brave, Hodgetts, and ask if you can have a tiny peek into her knickers."
COMMENTARY The joke is that, unlike the so-called jihottie in the news story, the woman in the cartoon is unattractive, and does not look as if she would take kindly to any request to search her underwear!
VOCABULARY 1. A peek is a quick look at something. • Emma had a quick peek inside the box. 2. Knickers are a piece of underwear for a woman's lower body (see image). The American word is panties.
Climate scientists have argued human activity is responsible for a significant portion of glacier melting but haven't been able to pinpoint just how much of an affect we've had until now. A panel of researchers put together by the United Nations found human-made greenhouse gas emissions account for about two-thirds of glacier melting specifically between 1991 and 2010. In the 140 years prior to 1991, they said humans only contributed about a quarter of the total amount. This marks the first time scientists have been able to attach a specific number to how drastic an effect the human carbon footprint is having on ice melting — especially recently. Full transcript >>
BACKGROUND David Cameron has returned to Downing Street from his holiday in Portugal a day earlier than expected to assume direct command of the government's response to the Iraq crisis. The prime minister had been expected to return to Downing Street on Thursday. His decision to return home a day earlier than expected followed criticism from Tory MPs of the prime minister for allowing himself to be photographed on a Portuguese beach while RAF crews were flying dangerous missions to drop humanitarian supplies to Yazidi refugees trapped on Mount Sinjar. Backbench Tory critics were distributing a cartoon from Tuesday's Times that featured lines of dead refugees lying on the ground. The cartoon ended with a pot-bellied Cameron lying on a beach towel in relaxed pose. Read more >>
CARTOON The cartoon by Morten Morland from The Times shows a red-faced Cameron returning from his holiday in Portugal. He's still wearing holiday clothes and is pulling a suitcase on wheels behind him. By portraying the PM in this way, the cartoonist is ridiculing him and the fact that his response to a major international crisis is to cut short his holiday by just one day.
VOCABULARY A plight is a a sad, serious, or difficult situation. • We must direct our efforts toward relieving the plight of children living in poverty.
It's the moment we've all been waiting for. According to the USB Implementers Forum, or USB-IF, we won't have to struggle with plugging in those pesky USB cables much longer. And that's because we're finally getting a reversible USB cable. Say hello to the USB 3.1 Type-C connector. The USB-IF says the finalized design is part of its "single cable solution." Along with transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps and 100W of power — enough for charging laptops — USB-IF hopes its new Type-C connector will be thin and sleek enough to become the standard cable for all our gadgets and gizmos. Full transcript >>
BACKGROUND Today the Daily Express is launching a crusade to help the sick, the elderly and their families by calling for an end to unfair hospital car park charges. As many as 74 hospitals made more than £500,000 from parking in the last financial year, with 46 taking more than £1million. The injustice of these fees has been exposed by Freedom of Information requests to health trusts which reveal 79 per cent are charging for parking, with some demanding as much as £500 a week for long-stayers. Full story >>
CARTOON The cartoon by Paul Thomas from the Daily Express shows a man lying on the ground in a hospital car park. The emergency ambulance workers are preparing to give him oxygen. His wife, who is cradling her husband, tells them, "He fainted when he saw the parking charges!" The parking machine says that parking costs £5 per hour, with a £2000 fine (for non-payment, one assumes).
VOCABULARY 1. To faint is to suddenly become unconscious for a short time, and usually fall to the ground. • Many people in the crowd fainted in the heat. 2. A charge is an amount of money that you have to pay, especially when you visit a place or when someone does something for you. • There is a charge of £50 if you are over a week late with your payment.
Hollywood icon and American actress Lauren Bacall died Tuesday at the age of 89. According to TMZ, the iconic actress died from what a family member described as a massive stroke in her home. The Humphrey Bogart Estate shared the sad news on Twitter, saying: "With deep sorrow, yet with great gratitude for her amazing life, we confirm the passing of Lauren Bacall." Bacall was married to Humphrey Bogart, who she had shared the silver screen with in movies such as her debut film "To Have and Have Not" and "Key Largo". Full transcript >>
Robin Williams faced ‘serious money troubles’ shortly before his death. He was forced to accept a string of second-rate but lucrative acting roles which insiders say made his battle with depression even tougher. The actor had admitted that he was on the verge of bankruptcy and was relying on the success of an upcoming TV series which was then ignominiously cancelled, affecting him deeply. Hollywood and the showbusiness world was stunned after the 63-year-old star of Mrs Doubtfire and Good Morning, Vietnam was found dead at his home in Tiburon, near San Francisco, on Monday. Full story >>
VOCABULARY Bankruptcy is a situation in which a person or business has officially admitted that they have no money and cannot pay what they owe. • The company that lifted Swedish automaker Saab out of bankruptcy is now facing financial difficulties of its own.
Beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams has died at age 63. The shocking news came Monday evening from the Sheriffs' Office in Marin County, California and was quickly picked up by several outlets. In a statement, the Sheriffs' office said Williams was found unconscious in his home around noon Monday. The office's coroner suspects suicide by asphyxia as the cause of death but says an investigation is underway. Williams' publicist confirmed that the actor had passed away and wrote, "He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss." Full transcript >>
BACKGROUND Rory McIlroy battled back from a poor start to claim his second straight major title in the fading gloom of Valhalla Sunday with a one-shot victory over Phil Mickelson in the PGA Championship. In near pitch darkness, the 25-year old from Northern Ireland parred the final hole for a three-under 68 to finish on 16-under 268 and deny American veteran Mickelson his sixth major title at 44 years of age. McIlroy was winning the Wanamaker Trophy for the second time and his fourth major, consolidating his status as world number one. Read more >>
CARTOON The cartoon by Paul Thomas from the Daily Express shows a father showing his young son how to putt in their back garden. The father is obviously a golf fanatic and is wearing the classic golfer's outfit of checked trousers, sleeveless pullover, and golf cap. However, the son has bent all his golf clubs and tells his father, "I don't like golf dad — and stop calling me 'Rory'!"
COMMENTARY Rory McIlroy was was introduced to golf at an exceptionally young age by his father Gerry, who coached him and is a fine golfer himself. Young Rory McIlroy gave early evidence of his golf potential by hitting a 40-yard drive at the age of two. He asked his father virtually every day to take him to the golf course. Family lore relates that he received a new golf club as a present, being shown the correct grip by his father, then taking the club to bed with him that night, with his hands holding the club properly. [source: Wikipedia]
The father in the cartoon wants his son to be the next Rory McIlroy, even going so far as to call him 'Rory', but unfortunately, the boy doesn't like golf.
VOCABULARY See if you can spot these things in the cartoon: garden shed, greenhouse, golf bag, greenhouse, flags, bird fountain, golf balls, lawn, bushes, garden fence, tower blocks, tree, windows, roof, cat, golf clubs, putter.
As ISIS continues to rampage across Iraq, they've saved the worst of their rage for an ancient religious group called the Yazidi. Never heard of them? Well, you're not alone. Although they've been around since the 11th century, you won't find many of them outside northern Iraq. But recently the Yazidi have dominated headlines as they claim the dubious distinction of being the people ISIS seems to hate the most. Full transcript >>
The United States is exploring options to evacuate thousands of Iraqi civilians trapped on a mountain in northern Iraq by Islamic militants after four nights of humanitarian relief airdrops, officials in Washington said. At least half of the 40,000 people besieged by jihadists on Mount Sinjar had escaped by Sunday night, aided by Kurdish rebels who crossed from Syria to rescue them. But proposals for a mission to save the remaining thousands of Yazidi people underscore the limits of the airdrops, ordered last week by Barack Obama. Full story >>
VOCABULARY Sanctuary [U] is official protection given to someone by a place that is safe for them. • A local mother of two is fighting deportation by seeking sanctuary at a south side church.