It's late August. Kids are back in school, football kicks off soon and Apple rumors are ringing in our ears.
That last one picked up big-time Tuesday with Bloomberg's report that months of speculation on a bigger iPad could finally be coming true. The outlet reported Apple plans to start producing the 12.9-inch tablet in the first quarter of 2015. Full transcript >>
BACKGROUND As governments in West Africa struggle to contain the Ebola epidemic, World Health Organization officials are warning that the suspension of flights and imposition of travel restrictions raise fears of shortages and could undermine the capacity to respond. While advising countries to perform exit screening at airports, seaports and major border crossings, the WHO is recommending against any ban on international travel or trade. But several international airlines have announced bans. Kenya Airways suspended flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia, effective Tuesday. British Airways, which stopped flights to the two nations earlier this month, will continue the suspension until Aug. 31 “due to the deteriorating public health situation in both countries,” spokeswoman Caroline Titmuss said. Meanwhile, the health ministry in Kenya, the travel hub of East Africa, announced over the weekend that it was closing its borders to travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Read more >>
CARTOON The cartoon by Chappatte from the International New York Times shows the continent of Africa surrounded by a curtain. Inside the curtain, a dead Ebola victim is being carried off by workers in protective suits. Outside, an official uses a megaphone to tell those inside, "You're under quarantine ... for your own good."
COMMENTARY Although the official says that the quarantine is for the Ebola victims' "own good", it is really designed to protect non-African countries from the deadly disease, even if this, in the words of the WHO, "could undermine the capacity to respond".
VOCABULARY Quarantine is a situation in which a person or animal that might have a disease is kept separate from other people or animals so that they do not catch the disease. • Animals can be kept in quarantine for up to three months.
Amazon's never been shy about dropping big bucks to nab a company it thinks can broaden its reach. But its latest acquisition is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. Amazon will purchase Twitch, a live-streaming service for video game players, according to Twitch's CEO, and The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is shelling out $1 billion to get its hands on the company. Google was rumored to be in talks to buy Twitch for the same amount earlier this year but those talks reportedly went cold. For all you non-gamers, Twitch is a service that allows people to stream themselves playing video games. Full transcript >>
More than 1,400 children were sexually abused during a period of over 16 years by gangs of paedophiles after police and council bosses turned a blind eye for fear of being labelled racist, a damning report has concluded. Senior officials were responsible for “blatant” failures that saw victims, some as young as 11, being treated with contempt and categorised as being “out of control” or simply ignored when they asked for help. Full story >>
VOCABULARY If you turn a blind eye (to something), you pretend you do not notice something, because you should do something about it but you do not want to. • We're not supposed to park here, but the authorities usually turn a blind eye.
BACKGROUND French President François Hollande on Monday called for a cabinet reshuffle, evicting from his government rebel leftist ministers who had argued for an economic policy U-turn away from budgetary rigor. The surprise move - which risks deepening the confrontation between Hollande and more left-wing lawmakers - came a day after outspoken Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg attacked euro zone powerhouse Germany for ruining the region's economy with what he called an "obsession" with economic austerity. Full story >>
THE CARTOON The cartoon by Adams from the Daily Telegraph is composed of two frames. In the first, French President François Hollande is shown in close-up against the background of the French flag. He's holding a document titled 'Le Government' (the correct French word is 'gouvernement') and says (to the rebel leftist ministers, we assume), "Leave then! Partir!! I cast you away!". However, in the second frame, we discover that Hollande is standing alone on a desert island, and the French flag is in tatters (as are his clothes).
COMMENTARY The 'joke' is that Hollande is the one who is isolated — his approval rating is at an all-time low of 17% and now key members of his own Socialist party are turning on him.
VOCABULARY The cartoon features a play on the verb 'cast away'. Hollande uses it to mean 'I reject you', but 'cast away' is also used to describe someone being shipwrecked or abandoned on a desert island. • Would you be able to survive if you were cast away on a desert island?
The French government has dissolved, but before anyone bids it adieu, let's look at what that really means. No, the country hasn't fallen into anarchy, and the only revolution that's happened is a kind of complicated political one. Basically what's happened is, because of internal conflict between President François Hollande and two of his ministers, Hollande ordered the prime minister to get rid of the current cabinet — well, part of it — and make a new one. Full transcript >>
This cartoon by Blower from The Telegraph shows a group of armed Jihadists walking across a pedestrian (or zebra) crossing as a policeman leans out of a police vehicle which has stopped to let them cross.
Ah, breakfast. The most important meal of the day .... or wait — is it? Two new studies say, not so much. A study out of the University of Bath found those who did not eat a meal before 11 a.m had no real metabolic differences from those who did. The study looked at the blood glucose, cholesterol and metabolic rate of both breakfast and non-breakfast eaters. And a study done by the University of Alabama agrees eating breakfast is not going to help you shed any pounds. It found there is no correlation between the meal and weight loss. Full transcript >>
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Islamic State extremists are plotting an attack here in the wake of the murder of US journalist James Foley. Next month’s Nato summit in Cardiff is a potential target, according to security experts. Officials say MI5 and MI6 are “very close” to identifying “Jihadi John”, the British man thought to have beheaded Mr Foley. Full story >>
VOCABULARY Jihadi, or jihadist, refers to a person who believes that an Islamic state governing the entire community of Muslims must be created, and that this necessity justifies violent conflict with those who stand in its way.
BACKGROUND James Foley was an American conflict reporter who went missing in Syria almost two years ago. On Tuesday, August 19th, a video of Foley surfaced. The video, apparently produced by ISIS as a warning to the US to stop air strikes against the group in Iraq, ended with Foley's death. Read more >>
THE CARTOON The cartoon by Dave Brown from The Independent shows a hand holding a pen against a desert background with clouds of smoke rising in the distance. The name J. Foley is inscribed on the pen, so we can assume it's his hand. The title of the cartoon consists of one word followed by three dots: Mightier ...
COMMENTARY The cartoonist is assuming that the reader will fill in the dots, as it were. In fact, the word 'mightier' is meant to evoke the proverb 'The pen is mightier than the sword', which means that thinking and writing have more influence on people and events than the use of force or violence. However, in the wake of Foley's death, the US is considering escalating its assault on Islamic State extremists with air raids, drone strikes and special forces operations inside Syria, so the cartoonist is probably using the proverb ironically. Other interpretations are possible, however.
VOCABULARY Mighty means very strong or powerful. • The Aztecs built a mighty empire that dominated Central America.
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.