Almanac – 11 August 2010 – Wednesday

Read the text first, then listen to the audio at the bottom of the page.

Chinju-! (Brute) Ryo Shouting to puccci!? on Harajuku JIngubashi
at irp

Good Morning!

It is the eleventh of August 2010. It is Wednesday. On this day in 3114 BC – The Mayan Calendar begins.

THE WEATHER (from Mount Tamborine)

It is raining. It is still raining. It has been raining since yesterday. It rained all day yesterday and it rained all night last night and it is still raining.

Look at the expressions which are used to express the length of an event:

It is still raining.
It has been raining since yesterday.

It has been raining is present perfect continuous tense.

Note the difference between:

“all night”

and

“last night”

“All night” refers to a period of time (from the beginning of the night until the end of the night)

“Last night” refers to a point in time (the same period of time seen as a point in time).

Make sure you understand these two concepts:

a period of time
a point in time

There are floods in China and Pakistan and there are wildfires in Russia.

How is the weather where you are? Answer the question orally. Answer it now:

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What is the weather like today?

After you have answered the question orally, write your answer in the “comments” section at the bottom of the page.

Chinju-! (Brute) Ryo Shouting to puccci!? on Harajuku JIngubashi
at irp

THE NEWS

Look at this news headline:

Murdoch cedes control of Chinese TV channels

Note that the grammar of the headline is a bit strange. Present simple tense is used instead of present perfect tense so

Murdoch has ceded control of his Chinese channels

has become

Murdoch cedes control of Chinese TV channels

In “news headline style” articles and possessives (his, her) are also usually omitted and present perfect becomes present simple. We talked about this yesterday. Do you remember? Go back and look at the examples again.

“Cede” means “give up” in this context. You could say:

Rupert Murdoch has ceded a controlling interest in three Chinese television stations.

or

Rupert Murdoch has given up a controlling interest in three Chinese television stations.

Rupert Murdoch is one of the most powerful men in the world. He owns News Corporation.

Look at this progression of phrases:

the most powerful man in the world
the most powerful men in the world
one of the most powerful men in the world
some of the most powerful men in the world

Look at these variations:

some of the most powerful men in the country
some of the most powerful people in the state
some of the most powerful people in the city
some of the most powerful people in the region

News Corporation owned a controlling interest in three Chinese television stations but now it has sold much of that interest.

Look at this progression:

a controlling interest
a majority interest
a large interest
a minority interest
a small interest
a very small interest

Why did Murdoch cede control? Why did he do that? Was it because of conflict with the Chinese government over media control? Was it because he thinks the television stations are not profitable enough? Was it because he is broke? Try to find the answer on the news services on the internet and post it in the “comments” section below.

Word Families

“Cede” belongs to the same word family as:

succeed: to be successful

He is a very successful businessman and he has succeeded in his private life as well.

recede: to go back

He has a receding hair-line.

proceed: to continue forwards

He proceeded to take over the newspaper business in the UK.

concede: to admit reluctantly

He conceded that it was difficult to break into the Chinese market.

Do you want to be successful? What is success? Write your opinion in the “comments” section below.
After you have done that, answer this question orally:

What is success in your opinion? What does it consist of?

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You can say:

TV stations
TV channels
television stations
television channels

They mean the same thing.

Rupert Murdoch owned a controlling interest in three television stations but he has given that interest up. His company (News Corp) still has some interest in the companies but it is much less.

Now answer this question orally. (Say your answer aloud) Why did Murdoch give up control of his Chinese television stations?

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Why did he do that?

If you have no idea, read up on it. Try to find an answer and give a report in the “comments section below.

Let’s look at another headline:

Gates proposes cuts for US military due to recession

Robert Gates is the United States Secretary of Defense
It is similar to the Minister of Defence in many other countries.

Look at some more variations on the theme of powerful men:

one of the most powerful men in the world
one of the most influential men in the world
one of the wealthiest men in the world

Note the two forms of comparative:

the most powerful (most plus adjective)
the wealthiest (superlative form of adjective)

We do not say: “the most wealthiest”!!!!!

Gates proposes cuts for US military due to recession

is “newspaper headline English style” so it means:

Gates has proposed cuts to the US military due to the recession.

Present simple tense is used instead of present perfect tense.

Look at these branches of the US military:

the US Marines
the US Air Force
the US Navy
the US Army

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has proposed cuts to the US military due to the recession.

These words have roughly similar meanings:

suggests
proposes
recommends
urges

so you could say any of these:

Robert Gates has suggested cuts to the US military due to the recession.
Robert Gates has proposed cuts to the US military due to the recession.
Robert Gates has recommended cuts to the US military due to the recession.
Robert Gates has urged cuts to the US military due to the recession.

Look at some more possibilities:

financial cuts to the military
lower spending on the military
decreased spending on the military
reduced spending on the military

The opposite would be:

“increased spending on the military”

Antonyms are words which have opposite meanings. Look at this pair of antonyms:

increases in spending on the military
cutbacks in spending on the military

Synonyms are words which have similar meanings. Look at this pair of synonyms:

cuts to the military
cutbacks to the military

Look at these variations. They are all the same:

Gates has proposed cutbacks in military spending due to the recession.
Gates has proposed cutbacks in military spending because of the recession
Gates has proposed cutbacks in military spending as a result of the recession

We generally refer to the current slow world economic situation as:

the recession
the global recession
the slump
the global slump
the economic slump
the economic meltdown
the economic crisis
the economic slowdown

but we do not say:

“the Depression”

That phrase is reserved for the Great Depression

Here is another headline:

UN to open inquiry into Israeli flotilla raid

This means the United Nations has opened an inquiry into the Israeli commando raid on the flotilla that went to Gaza on May 31st this year.

“to open an inquiry”

means

“to begin an examination of the facts”

In “news headline style” the infinive (“to” form of the verb) is used to show future so

“UN to open inquiry”

means

“The UN will open an inquiry”

Note that in normal style:

“UN”

is

“the UN”

and

“inquiry”

is

“an inquiry”

because it is a countable noun.

“A flotilla” is a large convoy of boats.

“A raid” is an attack.

Now listen to a summary of the news and weather:

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Download audio file (nw110810.mp3)

If there are any words you do not understand, go back and read the notes again.

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2 Responses to “Almanac – 11 August 2010 – Wednesday”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. eman nouman says:

    thanks for all, i think that success is to achieve goals which you hoped all your life to do it. they are like your dreams.

  2. sonia says:

    hi
    thank you, for It´s amancing lesson

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