This week's crossword is an 'easy' one, so it shouldn't take too long to solve ;-) Click here to download a PDF version with solution, and here for an interactive web version for smartphones and tablets.
Following on from the widely-reported Obama selfie incident at Mandela's memorial service (aka selfie-gate), Blower has this brilliant cartoon in today's Daily Telegraph. The scene is a stable somewhere in Bethlehem. One of the three wise men is taking a selfie of himself, his two companions, Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus (not forgetting the cow and sheep). That really says it all!
COMMENT Topical, funny, and spot-on. A strong contender for cartoon of the year.
Time magazine named Pope Francis its Person of the Year for 2013, crediting the Argentine pontiff with shifting the message of the Catholic Church. Sarah Irwin reports.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: Time magazine names Pope Francis its Person of the Year for 2013. The Argentine pontiff - elected as leader of the Roman Catholic Church in March - has called for a renewal of the Catholic Church and championed helping the poor. Bobby Ghosh is editor of Time International. BOBBY GHOSH: "We think that in the nine months that he has been Pope, he has been a transformational figure. He has changed perceptions of the Church. He has changed the focus of the Church. He has changed the tone of the Church." REPORTER: Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the award is positive for the Church. FEDERICO LOMBARDI: "The pope does not look for success or honors but if the declaration of the pope as Man of the Year means that many people have understood the message of the love of God for all, that the pope spreads in the world that is a very important message for all, then this is good news." REPORTER: The pope - who is the first pontiff from Latin America and the first Jesuit - beat out finalists who included former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. In the Vatican's St. Peter's Square, pilgrims celebrated the news. IRISH TOURIST ELENA CROSBY: "He's a man of the people, and I think he will transform the whole church which is badly needed." REPORTER: With sex abuse scandals hurting the Catholic Church in recent years, Pope Francis formed a team last week to look into ways to screen priests and help victims - although victims rights groups have called for more action. The 76-year-old pope is the third pontiff to be named Person of the Year - after Pope John Paul II in 1994 and Pope John XXIII in 1963.
Thousands of patients are being put at risk by GP surgeries that fail to meet basic standards of care and hygiene. The NHS watchdog uncovered a catalogue of failings at more than 300 practices. They included maggots on the floor of consulting rooms, patients given out-of-date medicines or injections, and nurses not trained in basic first aid. Read more >>
VOCABULARY 1. A surgery is a place where a doctor, dentist or vet sees patients. • Bill was in the doctor's surgery demanding to know what was wrong with him. 2. GP is an abbreviation for general practitioner, a doctor who does not specialize in any particular area of medicine, but who has a medical practice in which he or she treats all types of illness.
THE CARTOON The cartoon by Steve Bell from The Guardian shows a selection of 'world leaders' taking selfies of themselves at Mandela's memorial service. From left to right they are, Ed Milliband (Leader of the British Labour Party), Sir John Major (ex-UK Prime Minister), George W. Bush (former U.S. President), Tony Blair (ex-UK Prime Minister), David Cameron (current UK Prime Minister), Barack Obama, Bono (don't ask), George Brown (ex-UK Prime Minister), Prince Charles, and Bill Clinton (former U.S. President).
COMMENTARY The cartoonist seems to be saying that our so-called world leaders are just a bunch of shallow, preening poseurs. Even in death, Mandela could teach them all a lesson about human dignity.
VOCABULARY Selfie was Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013 and was defined thus: a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
World leaders were among tens of thousands of mourners paying tribute to anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela during his memorial at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium. Jillian Kitchener reports.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: Dozens of world leaders attend the memorial for Nelson Mandela, as tens of thousands of South Africans gathered under a rainy sky in Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon used the weather as a metaphor to describe Mandela's Rainbow Nation. UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL, BAN KI-MOON: "A rainbow emerges from rain and the sun. It is that blending of the symbol of grief and gratitude that I feel today." REPORTER: President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro put aside their differences and shook hands, as Obama made his way to the podium. U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again … And while I will always fall short of Madiba's example, he makes me want to be a better man." REPORTER: In contrast to Obama's roaring ovation, boos were heard as South African President Jacob Zuma took the stage. Organizers tried to drown out the noise with the choir, and Zuma began. SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA: "We sing that he is one of a kind, that there is no one quite like him." REPORTER: Mandela's grandchildren paid tribute to the man they loved. And a representative of the Mandela family acknowledged the grief shared around the world. GENERAL THANDUXOLO MANDELA: "Indeed our pattern of pain and sorrow is daily being lessened by the outpouring of national and international grief for our father and elder." REPORTER: Nelson Mandela will be buried on Sunday in his home town of Qunu.
Fussy shoppers are a major cause of food waste, Tesco claimed yesterday. The supermarket giant said UK customers ‘always pick the cream of the crop’, forcing it to bin thousands of tons of old or misshapen produce. Its Eastern European customers are, by contrast, more willing to accept less than perfect food. Read more >>
VOCABULARY Someone who is fussy is very concerned with unimportant details and is difficult to please. • Our teacher is very fussy about punctuation.
BACKGROUND Members of Parliament (or MPs) are set to receive an 11 per cent pay rise, taking their salaries to £74,000 from 2015, despite objections from all three major party leaders. Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury, said the increase would be “wholly inappropriate” coming at a time when many public sector workers have had their pay frozen. Yet despite the fury the announcement has sparked among the public, several MPs have spoken out today in defence of their salaries being increased. Read more >>
THE CARTOON This cartoon by Mac from The Daily Mail takes place in Santa's Christmas Grotto. Usually, it's children who sit on Santa's knee and tell him what they would like for Christmas, but here we see an MP being tempted with wads of banknotes (representing the 11% pay rise). The MP tells Santa, "No. No. I absolutely refuse ... you really shouldn't have ... oh well, if you insist ..." Meanwhile, there's a long queue of fellow MPs with bags waiting to see Santa and get their 'present'.
EXPLANATION Senior figures in all three parties branded the pay proposals ‘preposterous’, ‘unthinkable’ and ‘wholly inappropriate’ at a time of public sector pay freezes — but cynics might say that they do protest too much. In fact, backbench MPs reacted with anger at the calls for restraint, arguing that they deserve pay rises.
VOCABULARY Santa is flanked by two reindeer. And the plant hanging from the ceiling is mistletoe, which people traditionally kiss under.
Condolence books, flowers and speeches around the world mark latest outpouring of support for late South African leader Nelson Mandela. Nathan Frandino reports.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: His image is everywhere. From the streets of South Africa to embassies around the world. Supporters of the late Nelson Mandela are traveling near and far to pay tribute to the leader. At the African National Congress in Johannesburg, a condolence book is running out of pages. PULENG MABOEE, LOCAL RESIDENT: "What I have written there in that book is what is in my heart and it is not enough. The way Tata Mandela was ... I think most people have not realized what Mandela was fighting for, because what Mandela was fighting for is what Jesus needs - people are one, people love each other." REPORTER: South Africa's first black president died last week, prompting an outpouring of support across the globe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the South African Embassy in Berlin, where she, too, gave her condolences in a book. In the British parliament, speech after speech recognized Mandela's impact. British Prime Minister David Cameron. BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON: "Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our lifetime, a pivotal figure in the history of South Africa and the world and it is right that we meet in this parliament to pay tribute to his character, his achievements and his legacy." REPORTER: Back in South Africa, officials are preparing for Tuesday's memorial in Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already arrived for the service, and U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are on the way.
More than 500 of the world's leading authors, including five Nobel prize winners, have condemned the scale of state surveillance revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden and warned that spy agencies are undermining democracy and must be curbed by a new international charter. Read more >>
VOCABULARY Theft is the crime of stealing something from a person or place car. Theft can be countable or uncountable. • Police are warning partygoers across the UK to be on their guard after a number of thefts [C] by 'hugger muggers'. • Property is theft! [U]
BACKGROUND When a soul arrives at the gates of heaven, Saint Peter, the gatekeeper, will look through the Book of Life. If your name is in the Book of Life, you may enter.
THE CARTOON This cartoon by Chappatte from Le Temps, Geneva shows Saint Peter at the gates of heaven. Attached to the railings behind is a picture of him with a smiling Nelson Mandela, who has signed the picture.
EXPLANATION Nelson Mandela has died and gone to heaven. We are meant to assume that since Mandela was such a special person, Saint Peter wanted to have a souvenir photograph taken with him, just like members of the public do with celebrities.
NOTES In art (and cartoons), St Peter is usually depicted as a white-haired, bearded man in a blue robe, often holding a key or keys, which refer to Matthew 16:19. Following on from this, many paintings and literary accounts of Heaven show him stationed at the gate. There are traditionally two keys, one gold and one silver, representing the two conditions necessary for salvation: the silver key represents repentance, which comes from the person concerned; and the gold key represents forgiveness, which comes from God. [source: Conservapedia]
The World Trade Organization approved an historic trade reform deal that could add $1 trillion to the global economy. Mana Rabiee reports.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: The World Trade Organization reached its first ever trade reform deal on Saturday. It was met with a roar of approval from nearly 160 ministers gathered on the Indonesian island of Bali. INDONESIAN TRADE MINISTER GITA WIRJAWAN: "It is so agreed." REPORTER: They came to work out a make-or-break agreement that could add $1 trillion to the global economy. WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo. WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION DIRECTOR-GENERAL ROBERTO AZEVEDO: "We have achieved something very significant. People all around the world will benefit from the package we have delivered here today." REPORTER: The agreement lowers trade barriers and slashes red tape at customs around the world. But it also rescues the WTO from the brink of failure, after 12 years of fruitless negotiations. WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION DIRECTOR-GENERAL ROBERTO AZEVEDO: "For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered." REPORTER: Analysts say that, over time, the deal could boost the world economy by hundreds of billions of dollars and create more than 20 million jobs, mostly in developing countries. But it still needs to be approved by each member nation.
VOCABULARY • A million is 1,000,000 (a thousand thousand). • A billion is 1,000,000,000 (a thousand million). • A trillion is 1,000,000,000,000 (a million million).
NOTES 1. You say a, one, two, several, etc. millon/billion/trillion without a final ‘s’. • The deal is worth six billion dollars. 2. Millions/Billions/Trillions (of…) can be used if there is no number or quantity before it. • There are trillions of stars in the universe. 3. Always use a plural verb with million/billion/trillion or millions/billions/trillions except when referring to the number itself. • One million people are expected to watch the match on TV. • A trillion is a big number.
Extraordinary footage emerges of divers rescuing a Nigerian man who survived almost three days trapped in an underwater shipwreck. Jillian Kitchener reports.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: A Nigerian man survives 62 hours underwater, in a shipwreck's air bubble. 29-year-old Harrison Okene was sure he was going to die… until a rescuers' flashlight pierced through the darkness. DIVER MOVING THROUGH DARKNESS UNDERWATER / AUDIO OF CONVERSATION IN ENGLISH BETWEEN HIM AND THE DIVE LEADER CAN BE HEARD: "He's alive! He's alive!" HAND GRABS HOLD OF DIVER'S HAND: "All right just keep him there. Keep him there." REPORTER: A tugboat had capsized off the coast of Nigeria in May, while stabilizing an oil tanker filling up at a Chevron platform. Of the 12 people on board, divers recovered 10 dead bodies. The ship's cook had not been found - until this moment, captured in recently emerged video. OKENE SITTING IN WATER INSIDE HULL, DIVE LEADER SAYS: "Tell him to keep drinking his water. Where's his water? Drink it buddy, drink it. He hasn't drunken much eh?" "Nah he's almost finished it" "Oh he's almost finished it, ok sorry. Tell him to... what's wrong with him? "He says it's cold." "What's cold, the water? Yeah. He says the water's cold." REPORTER: After the ordeal, Okene spent another 60 hours in a decompression chamber where his body pressure was returned to normal.
Thousands of passengers are facing days of travel chaos after Britain’s busiest airports were brought to a standstill by an air traffic computer glitch yesterday. Hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed at Heathrow and Gatwick. Full story >>
VOCABULARY Misery is great unhappiness or suffering. • All that money brought nothing but sadness and misery and tragedy.
A drone is delivering a package to a delighted customer. Meanwhile, a delivery man, who happens to be delivering some parcels by van, comments, "I can look for another job ... like underpaid warehouse worker at Amazon" (which is, of course, meant to be ironic).
VOCABULARY 1. A warehouse is a building where large quantities of goods are stored, especially before they are sent to shops/stores to be sold. • A strike in Germany and two reports highlight work conditions in Amazon warehouses. 2. If you are underpaid, you are not paid enough for the work you do. • Nurses complain of being overworked and underpaid.
COMMENT The delivery man needn't worry since it's unlikely that Amazon's drone project will take off in the forseeable future. For a start, the Federal Aviation Administration would need to approve Amazon's flight plans, and the agency hasn't been quick to move on the domestic use of drones. Not to mention problems relating to bad weather, people shooting them down, the risk of collisions, etc, etc.