Monday, April 30, 2012

Coffee Aids Weight Loss, Studies Say

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. demonstrate (v.) 
[dem-uhn-streyt] – to describe or to explain by giving an example, an evidence, or an experiment
Example: Scientists demonstrated the benefits of coffee by showing the results of their test.

2. supplement (n.) [suhp-luh-muhnt] –something added to complete what is missing or lacking
Example: Students with poor health were given vitamin supplements to make them stronger.

3. placebo (n.) [pluh-see-boh] –a substance that has no actual medical effect but are given to patients to help them feel better
Example: The patient felt stronger after taking the medicine, not knowing that it was a placebo.

4. drastic (adj.) [dras-tik] – extreme or very serious
Example: Technology caused a drasticchange in people’s way of living.

5. gradual (adj.) [graj-oo-uhl] – to take place slowly or little by little
Example: Children’s development is gradual.

Read the text below.

Studies suggest that coffee may help people lose weight and help lower their risk of developing diabetes.

In one study in France, a group of volunteers was given a supplement of 400 mg of decaffeinated green coffee bean extract daily, while another group was given a placebo.

After a month, volunteers from the first group lost about 5.7% of their weight, while people from the second group lost only 2.8% of weight.

Although drastic weight loss was not achieved, the study demonstrated how gradual weight loss can happen after regularly taking coffee. Additionally, the study’s use of decaffeinated coffee showed that coffee’s fat-reducing effects may not be because of caffeine, which is known to burn calories.

Experts believe several chemicals in coffee called “chlorogenic acids” contribute to weight loss. These chlorogenic acids help digest food and slow down the production of fat and sugar in the body.

Because of the high amount of chlorogenic acids in espresso, experts say drinking espresso after meals may also be a good practice.

Meanwhile, studies in other countries suggest that regular consumption of coffee reduces the risk of developing diabetes. A study by Harvard University and two other different studies from the Netherlands all showed a direct connection between drinking coffee and the lowered risk of getting type-2 diabetes.

However, adding lots of sugar and cream to coffee does not help in losing weight or in preventing diabetes. To make the most out of coffee's health benefits, experts suggest taking black coffee, espresso, coffee with a small amount of milk, or green coffee bean supplements. 

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

     After learning the benefits of a certain food, are you likely to start eating or drinking it? Why or why not?
     What foods do you eat now which helps you have good health?

Discussion B

     Is weight loss a common problem in your country? Why is this so?
     What is the best advice you can give to someone who wants to lose weight?


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Denmark Aims to Completely Depend on Renewable Energy

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. renewable (adj.) 
[ri-noo, -nyoo] – able to be used again
Example: The business contract is renewable after it ends.

2. fluctuation (n.) [fluhk-choo-ey-shuhn] – constant change
ExampleFluctuations in the price of oil may lead to unstable prices of products.

3. back (v.) [bak] – to support with influence, authority, money, etc.
Example: The leading candidate in the elections is backed by businessmen.

4. skyrocket (v.) [skahy-rok-it] – to unexpectedly and suddenly increase
Example: Prices of goods will skyrocket if the tax increase is approved.

5. formality (n.) [fawr-mal-i-tee] – something done to keep with rules or accepted ways of doing things
Example:  Board members have already approved the plan, so the meeting will just be a formality.

Read the text below.

Denmark recently announced that the country aims to completely run on renewable sources of energy by 2050.

With the increase of demand for oil in growing economies such as China and India, Danish policymakers are aware that oil prices will continually increase.  They say Denmark’s economy will suffer from fluctuations in world energy prices if the country keeps depending on fuel from other countries.

According to the suggested plan, by 2020, at least a third (1/3) of the country’s energy should come from solar and wind power. Additionally, the proposal is backed by most Danish politicians which is a somewhat unusual scenario.

However, Denmark’s goal will be challenging. Power supply stations need to be rebuilt and redesigned to store energy for times when the sun is not shining and winds are not strong. A very big investment is also needed for building infrastructures and cables that will distribute energy from wind farms out at sea to the cities.

But Denmark's energy minister, Martin Lidegaard, still believes the plan will have good results. He says that it is better to have cheap and clean sources of energy than to deal with the threat of skyrocketing fuel prices.

Denmark's proposed energy policy still needs to be debated in the Parliament, but the talks may just be for formality since many politicians already support the plan. However, once the proposal is agreed on, the government’s problem will be to find ways to make the idea a reality.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

      Is it possible for a country to run completely on renewable energy? Why or why not?
      What are the advantages and disadvantages of using renewable energy?

Discussion B

      What do you think will happen if the price of oil continues to increase?
      How can the use of energy be lessened?


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Female Soccer Player Continues to Inspire Japan

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. glory (n.) 
[glawr-ee, glohr-ee] – honor received from a certain achievement
Example: The doctor brought glory to his family when he topped the exam.

2. tough (adj.) [tuhf] – difficult
Example: He was able to pass all the tough subjects this semester.

3. league (n.) [leeg] – a group of sports team or club that play against each other
Example: He joined the basketball league when he was 18.

4. hone (v.) [hohn] – to improve a skill
Example:  An artist can hone his talent by practicing every day.

5. passion (n.) [pash-uhn] – strong interest or enthusiasm for something
Example:  His passion shows in his great performance on stage.

Read the text below.

After helping her team win the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Homare Sawa, former captain of Nadeshiko Japan, continues to inspire her country with “fighting spirit.”

Sawa and her teammates brought glory to Japan last June in the midst of tough times for the country.

In an interview with CNN, Sawa talked about how their coach showed images of Japan’s disaster-hit areas before the start of matches. She said all the team members did not feel as though they would lose in the finals, because they felt Japan was empowering them.

Recently, Sawa was awarded FIFA’s female player of the year. A gifted soccer player, Sawa made her first international debut at the age of 15. However, there was not much support for professional leagues for women which can further hone her skills.

Not many soccer teams for girls are established in Japan. When Sawa was a child, she used to play in a boys’ team. She said playing with boys pushed her to be better.

Sawa is now looking forward to this year’s Olympic Games in London. She hopes the women’s team can bring home a medal, so that there will be more support for female players, and fairer treatment between the male and female teams.

Although very talented, she humbly shook her head when asked if she feels she is a national symbol. According to Sawa, she is just glad that her team’s win inspired many Japanese fans, especially young girls who have the passion for the sport.

She said it took a long time to achieve the goal of winning the World Cup, so the most important message she wants to send people is to not give up in reaching their goals.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that Nadeshiko’s victory helped in the fast recovery of Japan? Why or why not?
·         How do you think can Nadeshiko Japan continue to inspire the people?

Discussion B

·         Would you say female athletes can be as good as male athletes? Please explain your answer.
·         Why do you think some female athletes do not receive the recognition they deserve?


Friday, April 27, 2012

Makers of Apple Products Promise More Pay, Less Work

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. wage (n.) [weyj] – money paid in exchange for working; payment given to workers
Example: Workers with good performance get a wage increase.

2. criticized (v.) [krit-uh-sahyz] – to express disapproval of somebody’s mistakes
Example: The nation’s leaders are often criticized when the economy goes down.

3. response (n.) [ri-spons] – answer or reaction to something
Example: The judge asked the witness to give an honest response.

4. operation (n.) [op-uh-rey-shuhn] – business activity
Example: Toyota had to stop its operations in Thailand because of the flood.

5. make up for (v.) [meyk][uhp][fawr; unstressed fer] – to make a bad situation better; to pay for a loss or mistake
Example: I came to work late and had to make up for it by working overtime.

Read the text below.

Foxconn Technology Group’s chairman, Terry Gou, has promised to increase wages and decrease the long work hours of employees in Foxconn’s Chinese factories.

This move was done after the Fair Labor Association criticized poor working conditions and illegal work practices in Foxconn factories.  Factories owned by Foxconn currently make 50% of the world’s electronics, including Nokia products and Apple’s iPad and iPhone.

Foxconn’s original response to the issue was just to decrease employees’ daily work hours. However, workers complained that they would not be able to earn enough money because of the lessened work time.

Such complaints have pushed Foxconn to also raise wages which Gou says the company will continue to do in the future.

Foxconn and Apple have also agreed to improve safety measures, employee housing conditions and facilities for the 1.2 million workers who assemble Apple products. Additionally, Foxconn will put an end to unpaid overtime work and hire thousands of new employees.

In order to make up for production and financial losses caused by fewer work hours and higher wages, analysts say Foxconn will not only need to hire new employees but  will also need to invest in automated equipment. The company already plans to build high-tech factories in China’s Hainan province and to expand operations in Vietnam and Brazil.
Gou, who has been listed by Forbes as the third richest man in Taiwan, says the new decisions should take some pressure off Chinese factories and their overworked employees.

Viewpoint Discussion 
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

·         Have you ever felt overworked? What did you do at that time?
·         Describe the perfect work environment for you. What things would you like to change at work?

Discussion B 

·         How can a company keep the well-being of their employees?
·         Why is it important for companies to take care of their employees?


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Israeli Law Ends the Use of Thin Models in Advertisements

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. skinny (adj.)
 [skin-ee] – very thin
Example: Her niece eats only crackers so she is skinny.

2.  prohibit (v.) [proh-hib-it]  to stop something from being done or used
Example: Parents must prohibit their children from watching too much television during school days.

3. disorder (n.) [dis-awr-der] – an illness that causes a part of the body to stop functioning correctly
Example:  She is suffering from a mental disorder that makes her afraid of people.

4. compensation (n.) [kom-puhn-sey-shuhn] – a payment for damage or trouble done on someone
Example: Customers who received damaged products asked for compensation.   

5. deterrent (n.) [dih-tur-uhnt, -tuhr-, -ter-] -  a thing that makes someone less likely to do something
Example: The presence of police is a deterrent against robbery.

Read the text below.

Skinny models are now a thing of the past in Israel after the country passed a law which prohibits advertisers from using overly thin models.

Under the new law, known as the Photoshop Law, models with a body mass index (BMI) lower than 18.5 cannot appear in ads. The law also demands that advertising agencies include a notice on each advertisement if they have used digital methods to make models appear thinner.

The Israeli parliament’s Research and Information Center said that each year, around 1,500 Israeli children and teenagers suffer from eating disorders, causing worry among parents and lawmakers. According to the data, media images of models who look unhealthy have shaped the concept of beauty among young Israelis and have led to their wanting to be very thin. 

Although advertisers who violate the law are not considered criminals, the law allows parents to demand compensation from advertising companies if the parents believe that some ads influenced their children to have eating disorders. 

Lawmakers believe the law in itself can serve as a deterrent against further harm to the health of young people.

While many people from the modeling industry are happy with this development, some argue that the law is unfair to models that are naturally thin but healthy, as the law prevents these models from getting jobs.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         How can advertisements affect people?
·         Do you think advertisements influence the choices you make when you buy? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Should the government prohibit the showing of advertisement with skinny models during children's TV programs? What do you think about this?
·         How can adults protect young people from misleading advertisements? 


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nomophobia, the New Fear Troubling Phone Users

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. dependent (adj.) 
[dih-pen-duhnt] – needing something or someone for support, help or comfort
Example: Babies are dependent on their parents for food.

2.  phobia (n.) [foh-bee-uh] – very strong fear of something
Example: Shy people have a phobia of talking in front of many people. 

3. anxious (adj.) [angk-shuhs, ang-] –worried or afraid about what may happen in the future
Example: Mothers are often anxious when their children are out late at night.

4. security blanket (idiom) [si-kyoor-i-tee][blang-kit] – something or someone that makes one feel safe and comfortable
Example: Credit cards can be a security blanketto people who are afraid of running out of cash.

5. prevalent (adj.) [prev-uh-luhnt] – common or happening in a lot of places, experienced by a lot of people
Example: The use of English in business meetings has become prevalent these days.

Read the text below.

Today’s technology-dependent world has created a new mental illness called “nomophobia.” Nomophobia is a shortened term for “no mobile phone phobia,” or in other words, the fear of being without a phone.

A recent online survey conducted by Internet security company SecurEnvoy confirms a rise in the number of nomophobes or people who have nomophobia. Out of the 1,000 participants in the UK study, 66% were found to be nomophobic. The highest number of nomophobes came from the 18 to 24 age group.

Psychologist Michael Gregg-Carr says that nomophobes get very worried or scared when they lose their phones. Some people get so anxious that they skip school or work just to look for their misplaced phones.

For some, mobile phones have become security blankets that assure connection with friends 24 hours a day. Others even go to bed with their mobile phones beside them, treating phones like teddy bears children sleep with at night.

But dependence on mobile phones can be dangerous. A study of university students in India revealed that 25% of nomophobes have gotten into minor accidents while using their phones. Students reported suffering from lack of sleep and thumb pain from too much texting. Experts say this kind of phone addiction likely leads to nomophobia.

While nomophobia is not yet officially recognized as a mental illness, it has become so prevalent that experts in countries like India, the world’s largest phone market, are doing more scientific research on it.

Viewpoint Discussion 
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

·         What gadget can’t you live without? What makes it so important?
·         How can people be less dependent on technology?

Discussion B 

·         Do you have a phobia? What are you most afraid of?
·         What are good ways of getting over one’s fear?