Tuesday, October 30, 2012

YouTube May Be Banned in Russia Over Anti-Muslim Movie

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

1. controversial (adj.) [kon-truh-vur-shuh l] – causing a public discussion or disagreement
Example: The controversial newspaper article attacked different religious beliefs.

2. trailer (n.) [trey-ler] – a short promotional video of a new film
ExampleTrailers of the upcoming movie thrilled many teenagers. 

3. depict (v.) [dih-pikt] – to describe someone or something in writing, painting, drawing or film
Example: He was depicted as a loving father in the movie.

4. abide by (phrasal verb) [uh-bahyd] [bahy] – to obey or to follow
Example: People must abide by the government rules.

5. verdict (n.) [vur-dikt] – judgment or opinion
Example: The host announced the judges’ verdict in the contest.

Read the text below.

Google’s video-sharing site YouTube may be blocked in Russia unless it removes the controversial anti-Islamic film that caused violent reactions from many Muslims around the world.

Muslims were depicted as immoral and violent people in the trailer of the US-produced film entitled “Innocence of Muslims.” Islamic believers and followers were offended and angered by the film’s concept.

Worried that this will cause protest and violence among Russian Muslims, the Russian court ordered the film to be removed. Failure to abide by the order will result to the complete banning of the site in Russia, said Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov.

Google did not say whether they would follow the order or not. According to the company, they only remove and restrict access to videos which violate rules of a certain country.  Google firmly believes in people’s right to have freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, the anti-Islamic video cannot be accessed in several countries such as India, Indonesia, Libya and Egypt.

The US government also asked YouTube to review the video according to the company’s policies. YouTube’s verdict was not to remove the video because it does not violate any of their rules.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that the anti-Islamic film should be removed from YouTube? Why or why not?
·         What types of videos do you think should be removed from YouTube? Please explain your answers.

Discussion B

·         Do you think freedom of speech should also have boundaries? Why or why not?
·         What should be the limitations of a person’s right to freedom of speech?


Health Project by Football Clubs Improve Men’s Health

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

1. fitness (adj.)
[fit-nis] – refers to the state of good physical condition
Example: She enrolled in the gym’s one-year fitness program.

2. lifestyle (n.) [lahyf-stahyl] – a way of living that includes attitudes and habits
Example: He finds it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle because he is too busy with work.

3. obese (adj.) [oh-bees] – having more weight than the normal; very fat
Example: He became obese because he always eats fatty foods and does not exercise.

4. consult (v.) [kuh n-suhlt; kon-suhlt] – to ask for advice or information
Example: He consulted a lawyer regarding his rights to the property.

5. convey (v.) [kuh n-vey] – to communicate; to make known to someone
Example: The spokesperson conveyed the president’s message to the people.

Read the text below.

A study in Britain shows that health and fitness programs launched by the UK’s Premier League football clubs are helping improve men’s health.

According to Dave Horsfield from Liverpool Primary Care Trust (PCT), men generally have unhealthy lifestyles and die earlier than women. Men also usually do not want to consult doctors because they fear bad news. As a result, their diseases get worse and they later need expensive medical care. Public health treatment for obesity and alcohol-related illnesses has already cost the UK government billions of pounds.

Hoping to change the lifestyles of at least 10,000 men, Premier League football clubs started the health programs. The programs offer fun exercise activities and help from health experts. Liverpool Football Club, as one example, started a weekly men’s cycling group as part of the project.

Researchers observed around 4,000 men who joined the programs, most of whom were initially obese, alcoholic, had poor diet or had little exercise. Within three years since the start of the project, many of the men became healthier.

Seven out of ten men who joined the program made a positive change to their lifestyles. One out of three improved their diet, and two out of five men became more physically active.

Mark Haig from the Liverpool Football Club Foundation said that many men do not think of their health, but they like joining and supporting activities of their favorite football clubs.  Haig said that using the influence of the football club badge, the fitness programs successfully convey health messages to men.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor

Discussion A

·         How can fitness clubs or health group help people to be healthier?
·         Which is better, exercising and dieting by yourself or exercising and dieting along with a group? Why?

Discussion B

·         Do you think a person needs to join a health program to stay healthy nowadays? Why or why not?
·         Is maintaining a healthy lifestyle nowadays expensive? Why or why not?


Sunday, October 28, 2012

New Weight-Loss Drug Now Available in the US

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

1. appetite (n.)
[ap-i-tahyt] – the feeling of wanting to eat food
Example: A sick person often does not have a big appetite.

2. overeating (n.) [oh-ver-eet-ing] – the act of eating more than what is needed by the body
ExampleOvereating will make you fat.

3. be taken off the market (expr.) [be][tey-kuh n][awf,of][thuh][mahr-kit] - to no longer be sold
Example: After receiving many complaints, the company decided the product should be taken off the market.

4. side effect (n.) [sahyd][ih-fekt] – a drug result that is different from the expected result of that drug
Example: Common side effects of cold medicines include sleepiness and dizziness.

5. obesity (n.) [oh-bee-si-tee] – condition where a person has too much fat in the body
Example: People who eat too much and don’t exercise usually suffer from obesity.

Read the text below.

Qsymia, a new US Food and Drug Association (FDA) approved drug that promises to help people lose about 10% of their body weight, is now available on the US market.

The new drug is a mix of two known weight-loss drugs that have been used by doctors for quite some time: phentermine and topiramate. Phentermine reduces appetite, while topiramate makes a person feel fuller after eating. Both of these drugs help control overeating, but target different areas of the brain, making Qsymia more effective.

However, doctors are concerned about the fact that one ingredient of Qsymia, phentermine, is also found in a drug called Fen-Phen. In 1997, Fen-Phen was taken off the market due to its dangerous side effects. It has been 13 years since a weight-loss drug has been approved by the FDA. The last was Xenical, in 1999.

Qsymia is reportedly safe for women of child-bearing age.  However, pregnant women must keep away from Qsymia.

With Qsymia, doctors and their patients now have another way of fighting the growing obesity problem in the US. At present, one third of the US population is obese while many suffer from medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease because of obesity.

But, doctors say Qsymia users must also have a healthy diet and exercise regularly if they want to lose weight.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         Do you think taking diet pills like Qsymia is a good way of dealing with weight problems? Why or why not?
·         How can people who are overweight or obese lose weight effectively?

Discussion B

·         What does your government do to encourage people to stay at a healthy weight?
·         In your opinion, why do a lot of Americans struggle with obesity?


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Italian Businessmen seek Chinese Investments

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

1. machinery (n.)
[muh-shee-nuh-ree] –machines or mechanical equipment
Example: The expensive machinery should be handled carefully.

2. intangible (adj.) [in-tan-juh-buhl] – cannot be touched or felt
Example: Knowledge is an intangible but important result of education.

3. managerial (adj.) [man-i-jeer-ee-uhl] – referring to managers’ or managements’ work and responsibilities
Example: The leadership training seminar discussed important managerial skills that employees should learn. 

4. capital (n.) [kap-i-tl] – money or property used to start a business
Example: A person usually needs a large capital to run a business.

5. lend a hand (idiom) [lend] [a] [hand] – to help someone
Example: All the students will lend a hand to the school’s charity project.

Read the text below.

The European economic crisis has pushed many European companies to find investors from China.

CB Ferrari, for example, an Italian company that builds machinery for car and energy industries, was sold to a Chinese company that makes similar but less advanced equipment.

Italy’s economy was very strong when Renato Bianchi started CB Ferrari in the 1960s.  In forty years, the company grew and gained 160 employees. Unfortunately, when the global economy failed mid-2000, Bianchi started losing a million dollars yearly.

Bianchi had to think about changing his business or selling the company. Swiss, Italian and German competitors offered to buy CB Ferrari, but Bianchi chose to sell to a Chinese company for a lower price. The Chinese-owned company agreed to keep the Italian workers, which was most important to Bianchi.

Economist Roberta Rabellotti said more Chinese are investing in Europe to gain intangible advantages such as managerial skills and knowledge.

In the past, Italy did not attract many Chinese investments because of the Italian government’s complicated business policies. Rabellotti said the situation is now changing, because Italy’s businesses need financial help to keep running, and China has the needed capital.

But Italian companies still fear that their businesses will be shut down after their technology and knowledge has been passed to China. Rabellotti said they should remove that fear by focusing on how Chinese have lent a hand to the Italian economy. According to Bianchi, his company is one example of a positive result from Chinese investment.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Aside from financial help, how do you think working with foreign partners or investors helps a company?
·         What can be some of the difficulties in working with foreign partners or investors?

Discussion B

·         How can people feel the economic crisis in their daily lives aside from in business?
·         In what ways can people deal with or fight through financial troubles?


Friday, October 26, 2012

University of London Joins Online Education Project Coursera

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

1. course (n.) [kawrs, kohrs] – a series of classes or lessons at school that focus on one subject
Example: To improve his design skills, he took a basic drawing course last college semester.

2. partner (v.) [pahrt-ner] – to work together with another group or person
Example: The school partnered with the city’s research facility for a new project.

3. base (v.) [beys] – to put the headquarters of a company or organization in a specific location
Example: The company’s main office is based in America.

4. accredited (adj.) [uh-kred-i-tid] – accepted by an authority as true or official
Example: Colleges provide graduates with accredited diplomas as proof that the students successfully finished their studies.

5. conventional (adj.) [kuhn-ven-shuh-nl] – traditional or usual
Example: Finding information on the Internet has almost replaced the conventional method of researching in the library.

Read the text below.

The University of London’s International Program has recently joined the free online education project Coursera. Through Coursera, the university will be offering five online courses in psychology, law, computer programming, photojournalism and digital media.

Online university project Coursera has so far partnered with more than 30 universities located in America, Hong Kong, Australia, Britain and other countries.

Based in California, Coursera was started by scholars in Stanford University. It now offers over 200 free courses designed by the different universities. About 1.3 million students are currently enrolled in the online project.

Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller said they wanted to make education easy to access globally. She said they are proud to give students a variety of educational experience through universities around the world.  The project offers students another option to conventional campus-based classes, which are frequently costly.

As of now, however, Coursera does not offer accredited degrees to students when they complete a course, but other methods are being done to recognize online students’ work.

Jonathan Kydd, dean of University of London’s International Programs, hopes that students who try the free online courses at Coursera will be encouraged to take up full degree courses.

Other universities that have recently joined Coursera are Brown University, University of Florida and Vanderbilt University in the US, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, the University of British Columbia in Canada and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would online courses like Coursera be popular among students in your country? Please explain your answer.
·         Do you think that taking online classes is better than having lessons in a classroom? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         How does the Internet help students with their studies?  
·         What can be the disadvantages of using the Internet as a learning tool?