Tag Archives: infos

American English : Snow in Southern USA

Ecoutez le reportage, et essayez de repérer des mots-clés:

icy winter snorm
paralysed
snow, sleet and freezing rain
fender benders (minor accidents involving two or more cars)
cancel flights
Texas Pan-handle
expected
Oklahoma
Texas

Haitian-Americans talk about the earthquake

Haitian-Americans, many of whom live in South Florida, are praying for good news after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti Tuesday. The earthquake registered a 7.0, toppling buildings and causing widespread damage. (Jan. 13)

The Bhopal Disaster

On this day, the third of December, twenty-five years ago, at least 3800 people died as a result of a gas leak at a pesticide factory in Bhopal, India. Some believe that as many as 25000 people died in total during the years that followed. Even today, dangerous chemicals are still leaking into the air and water supply, affecting the health of thousands of people.

The factory was a subsidiary of the American chemical giant Union Carbide, now called Dow Chemical. It appeared that the plant was not prepared for such a disaster, and was understaffed.

Was this a classic example of rich western companies exploiting poorer, developing countries? I’ll let you decide.
If you want more information about this subject, go to the wiki entry.

News: flooding in Northern Britain

Cumbria is the county that has Britain’s famous Lake District, a very beautiful area of lakes and mountains.

Here is the transcript of the video. Some words have been removed. Can you guess what they are? Answers at the bottom of the page.

Authorities in England say they are (1)___________ checking the safety of about eighteen hundred (1800) bridges in the northern part of the country. That area has been hit with some of the worst storms ever recorded in Britain. the surging waters have already claimed one life.

On Friday policeman Bill Barker was standing on a bridge trying to keep people off the rooad.

“Unfortunately when they were on the bridge, the bridge gave way, just due to the volume of water and PC Barker went into the water and was (2)___________.”

Police said Sunday that concerns over the safety of bridges have crippled the regions road network – that’s making it tough for rescue workers who were going house to house in one of the areas hardest hit towns. so far, emergency services say more than two hundred people have been brought to safety with more than a thousand homes flooded.

“I’ve got to get (3)____________, and they’re saying for at least six months I won’t get into my property for at least six months”

In some areas flood waters were up to eight feet (2,4m) deep. Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited a relief centre Saturday. He spoke with people who were forced to (4)____________ their homes.

“All the police, ambulance, fire and hospital services have been involved and we want to do everything we can to help them in what has been one of the (5)__________ and most difficult days in Cumbria that we have seen”

Officials say a record twelve point three (12,3) inches (31cm) of rain fell in twenty-four hours – the (6)________ rainfall ever recorded in the UK.

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Answers. Go back and listen carefully to the way these words are articulated!

1.urgently
2.swept away
3.accommodation
4.evacuate
5.wettest
6.heaviest

The Berlin Wall

berlin wall, anglais facile

image: http://www.photoeverywhere.co.uk

Today (9th November 2009) is the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The wall was constructed in the early 1960s and was intended to stop mass emmigration to the west from East Germany, especially young, skilled workers and scientists (the ‘brain drain’).

Important events that led to the fall of the Berlin wall:

  • Trade union movement, Solidarity, in Poland in the early 1980s
  • A move towards more openness in Soviet Russia under Gorbachov
  • A speech by Ronald Reagan challenging the East to tear the wall down
  • The decision by Hungary to open its borders to Austria, allowing thousands of East Germans on holiday to flee to Austria. When Hungary then started to prevent East Germans from leaving, massive demonstrations started calling for more freedom of movement.

The current German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is herself a former East German, and has thus become a symbol of the successful reunification.

I’m sure though, that there must be some people who regret the end of the Soviet block. As with any social change, there are always winners and losers. The communist system guaranteed everyone a job and accomodation. For some, it have been a good thing that it wasn’t possible for some people to make fortunes while others struggle to survive, as is the case in our western democracies.

What do you think? Leave your comments (in English, please) below.