Almanac – 17 August 2010 – Tuesday

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

Good Morning!

It is the seventeenth of August 2010. It is Tuesday.

THE WEATHER)

It is fine.
The sky is clear.
It is clear and it is not windy.
The wind has died down.
It is cold.
It is still quite cold but the weather is getting warmer.
Spring is coming.

What is your favourite season? Answer the question aloud. Say your answer now!
[audio:season.mp3]
What is your favourite season?

Now write your answer in the “comments” section below at the bottom of this post.

Now I want you to tell me about the weather where you are. What is the weather like where you are? Answer this question. Say your answer aloud.
[audio:weather.mp3]
What is the weather like today?

Now write an answer. What is the weather like today in your area? (Post the answer below in the “comments” section)


THE NEWS

Here is a current news headline:

Obama declares US Gulf coast safe.

In “news headline English” we often use present simple tense to replace present perfect tense because it is shorter. Headlines are like short notes.

In this headline:

has declared the Gulf coast safe

has become

declares Gulf coast safe

President Obama has declared the Gulf safe. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill which began on April 20 with an explosion that killed eleven workers was capped on July 15 and the President, after examining the water in the Gulf and swimming in it, has declared the area safe.

“Declare” has two distinct shades of meaning:

Obama has declared the Gulf safe

means

Obama formally announced that the Gulf is safe

We also use “declare” in another situation. When you go through customs, the customs officer will ask you:

Do you have anything to declare?

That means:

Are you carrying any drugs, fruit or weapons?

Listen to this conversation and you will hear the phrase

Do you have anything to declare?

Does the girl in the dialogue have anything to declare? Write your answer in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Look at these phrases:

an explosion that killed seven workers
an explosion that injured seven workers
an explosion that trapped seven workers

Do you know the difference? What is the difference? Answer the question now.
[audio:different.mp3]
How are they different? What do they mean?

After you have said your answer, write an answer at the bottom of the post in the “comments” section.

If you have trouble use these words and phrases:

the first one
the second one
the third phrase
means
cannot get out
were hurt
died

Pay attention to punctuation when you write.

Here is another headline:

Storm follows heatwave

Again present simple tense has replaced present perfect tense so

A storm has followed a heatwave

has become

Storm follows heatwave

Russian wildfires have been extinguished by a storm, which ended the heatwave, which has claimed many lives.

Look at these phrases. They have the same meaning:

have been extinguished
have been put out


Mexican television station offices bombed

In this headline a past participle has been used instead of a passive phrase so

A Mexican television station’s offices have been bombed

has become simply

Mexican television station offices bombed

The Monterrey offices of the largest television network in Mexico have been bombed. An explosive device went off in front of the offices. The blast is believed to be related to the war between drug cartels and the government. In Mexico murder and intimidation of journalists by drug cartels has become routine.

There is a story about drug cartels in Monterrey in yesterday’s almanac.

Look at this scale:

the largest television network in Mexico
the second largest television network in Mexico
the third largest television network in Mexico


Let’s look at another headline:

Government critic slandered in Malaysia

This means:

A critic of the government has been slandered in Malaysia.

Again, a past participle has been used in place of a passive phrase.

The liberal opposition leader Anwar bin Ibrahim has again been slandered by critics as his popularity rises in the wake of coming elections. Anwar opposes Malaysia’s racial affirmative action policy of “bumiputera“.

Anwar was falsely accused of crimes against morality during a previous election bid. The prosecution argued that he had committed a crime in a building that had not been constructed at the time. He was later cleared.

In the current case it has been revealed that the main witness for the prosecution is a prosecution lawyer’s lover. The judge has said this does not matter.

Look at these pairs:

in the current case
in the previous case

a prosecution lawyer
a defence lawyer

the main witness
a minor witness

News and weather Summary

Now listen to a summary. If you do not understand everything you hear, go back and read the text again. Look up all the new words in the dictionary.

[audio:nw170810.mp3]
Download audio file (nw170810.mp3)

That is all for now. See you tomorrow!

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