Ancient massacre in Kenya discovered

Archaeologists have discovered a site in northern Kenya where a mass killing took place about 10000 years ago. The nomads were not buried  but were left to die in the open.

The archaeologists discovered that the men, women and children were stabbed or clubbed to death. They do not really know, however, how the ancient massacre happened.

Nataruk, near Lake Turkana, was an area full of vegetation which attracted many grazing animals. It was more liveable than the other side of the lake, which was very rocky.  One of the reasons for the ancient massacre may be food that groups of hunters and gatherers were fighting for.

The skeletons that scientists found at the site  showed wounds on the necks of the victims. In some cases their skulls were smashed. One man was found with with a sharp blade of volcanic rock still embedded in his skull. Others had broken arms and legs. A pregnant woman was found with her arms and legs tied together.

Although the massacre in northern Kenya is the oldest evidence of violence between groups of people, historians believe that warfare emerged much later when humans stopped being nomads and started to settle down.  They claim that nomads probably did not fight because they were able to move away from danger.

The grave site, first discovered in 2012, is proof that violence may have been going on longer than first thought.

Lake Turkana - site of an ancient massacre that took place 10000 years ago.
Lake Turkana – site of an ancient massacre that took place 10000 years ago.

Words

  • although = while
  • archaeologist = person who studies old civilizations and the buildings and houses that are left over from that time
  • attract = here: to make animals go there
  • blade = flat part of a knife or other object used for cutting
  • bury = put a dead person into a grave
  • club = to beat a person with a heavy object or stick
  • discover = to find for the first time
  • embedded = still fixed into something
  • emerge = come up, start
  • evidence = one or more reasons that shows that something has happened
  • gatherer = a person who gathers food instead of getting it by farming
  • grave = place where a dead person is buried
  • graze = when animals eat grass
  • historian = someone who writes about or studies history
  • liveable = here: better to live
  • mass killing = the killing of many people at once
  • nomad = person who moves from one place to another instead of living in the same place all the time
  • pregnant = to expect a baby
  • proof = evidence, facts that show something is true
  • scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
  • site = place
  • skeleton = the frame of bones of a human
  • skull = bones of the head that surround the brain
  • smash = break into pieces
  • stab = here: kill someone with a knife or other sharp object
  • victim = here: person who died in the massacre
  • violence = fighting
  • warfare = the act of fighting against each other
  • wound = a damaged part of your body

 

 

McDonald’s Opens New Restaurants in Russia

America’s fast food giant McDonald’s is planning to open more new restaurants in Russia.  The company, which has been operating in Russia for 26 years,  has constantly expanded over the years. In 2015 the franchise opened 59 restaurants and  plans to open 60 more this year. Currently, McDonald’s operates 543 restaurants in Russia. According to a company spokesperson, it will invest over a hundred million dollars.

In addition, McDonald’s wants to buy more food from local suppliers. Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russia because of the country’s role in the Ukraine conflict. In retaliation, Russia has placed an embargo on food coming from the west. Last year over 80% of the food used in McDonald’s restaurants was produced in Russia.

In the future, it wants to become completely independent and get everything from local suppliers. Within the next two years chicken and beef is to come from local farms.  McDonald’s also intends to grow Russian potatoes used for French fries.

The fast food franchise is extremely popular among Russians, even though McDonald’s had to increase menu prices because of the sinking value of the rouble.

 

 

McDonald's restaurant in St. Petersburg.
McDonald’s restaurant in St. Petersburg.

Words

  • according to = as said by …
  • beef = meat from cows
  • constantly = the whole time
  • currently = now, at the moment
  • embargo = stop trading with another country
  • even though = despite
  • expand = to become larger
  • extremely = very
  • franchise = the right to sell products using a company’s name
  • giant = here: very large company
  • impose = put into effect
  • in addition = also
  • increase = to make more expensive
  • independent = here: not need
  • intend = plan
  • local supplier = here: company that produces food in Russia and sells it to McDonald’s
  • operate = here: to do business
  • popular = much liked
  • retaliation = to punish someone because they have done harm to you; to take revenge
  • rouble = money used in Russia
  • sanction = order that stops or reduces trading to another country in order to make it follow certain rules
  • spokesperson = person who is chosen to speak for a company and make press and TV comments
  • value = what something is worth
  • within =in

British woman gets bionic eye

Rhian Lewis, a British woman aged 49, is the first Briton to get a bionic eye. A chip was implanted in the back of the retina, which allowed her to see for the first time in six years.

The woman started losing her eyesight when she was 5 years old.  Now she can read the time of a clock, experience sunshine and even recognize her two 18-year old twins , which she hadn’t clearly seen for a few years.

The bionic eye works by gathering light and sending it to the brain, where it is turned into images.The chip has 15,000 light sensors that replace the cells in the retina. It is connected to a tiny computer that sits in the back of her ear. The revolutionary invention was manufactured by a Germany firm. Lewis is the first person outside of Germany to receive the chip.

The disease which was passed down to Lewis from her parents destroys the light cells in the retina. She became completely blind on one eye and could hardly see anything with her other eye. In her first interview after the successful operation she described  the joy of being able to see again.

What Lewis first saw first were simply flashes of light. In the course of a few weeks, the brain learns  to change those flashes into objects and shapes she can recognize. She can change contrast and brightness  with a small gadget that she holds in her hand.

The operation, performed in an Oxford hospital, took about 6 hours. Surgeons are also amazed because for the first time they have been able to activate  a part of the brain that hasn’t been working for some time.

The bionic eye is hope for thousands of people who suffer from losing their eyesight, especially when they become older.

 

Eye surgery - Bionic Eye
Eye Surgery

 

Words

  • activate = to make something work
  • amazed = very surprised
  • bionic = part of the body that is electronic
  • brain = part of your head that controls what you do, think and how you feel
  • brightness = being full of light or shining strongly
  • Briton = person who is a citizen of Great Britain
  • cell = the smallest building block of a person or animal
  • clearly = in every detail
  • completely = totally
  • connect = link
  • contrast = differences in light and dark
  • destroy = damage completely
  • disease = illness
  • especially = above all
  • experience =  here: the feeling of being able to see
  • eyesight = being able to see
  • flash = light that shines brightly for a very short time
  • gadget = small tool that does something useful
  • gather = collect
  • hardly = almost nothing
  • image = picture
  • implant = put something into your body in an operation
  • invention = new machine or object
  • joy = feeling of great happiness
  • manufacture = produce
  • pass down = get from your parents or grandparents
  • perform = carry out
  • replace = put there instead of something else
  • receive = here: to have the chip implanted
  • recognize = to know what somebody or something is
  • retina = the back of the eye that collects light and sends signals to the brain
  • revolutionary = something very new and modern
  • sensor = object that reacts to light or heat
  • shape = form
  • simply =easy to understand
  • successful = here: something that worked
  • suffer = to have a disease, feel pain or not have something that other people have
  • surgeon = doctor who carries out operations
  • tiny = very small

Zika Virus Spreads Throughout Latin America

The Zika virus is an infection that has been spreading rapidly throughout Central and South America. Health experts think it may be the cause of thousands of babies who are born with brains that are not fully developed.

The virus was first detected  in monkeys in Uganda shortly after World War II. In 1954, the first human was infected by the Zika virus in Nigeria . Since then cases have been reported in Africa , Southeast Asia and some Pacific Islands.

The symptoms of the disease are

  • fever
  • red eyes
  • headache
  • pain in the joints
  • rash

At the moment there is no cure for  the disease and a vaccination has not yet been found.

The Zika virus may be the reason why babies are born with small heads. Their brain has not developed in the way it should. This can prove to be fatal if the brain cannot control the basic functions of a child’s life.

The Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes, that live in the tropical areas of Central and South America. They pass on the disease by biting people and drinking their blood. Up to now the Zika virus has not been considered to be a threat to global health. But last year it appeared in South America and spread rapidly across Brazil.

More than 20 countries have reported outbreaks of the virus. As many as four million people could be infected by the end of 2016. In El Salvador, the government has advised women not to become pregnant in the next three years.

Brazilian health authorities have stated that they are doing all they can to contain the virus. More and more money is being put into finding a vaccine for the disease.

The World Health Organisation says that the Zika virus could turn into a major pandemic that could spread to other parts of the world. Health authorities advise people who live in infected areas to  cover their bodies with long clothes, use  insect repellents  and shut doors and windows to keep insects out.

In today’s world viruses spread faster because of modern travel. Brazilian health experts say that the Zika virus may have entered the country through a traveller who came from Polynesia. Brazil’s authorities are concerned about the virus as it may affect the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which will be visited by millions of people.

A mosquito feeds on human blood and spreads the Zika virus
A mosquito feeds on human blood and spreads the Zika virus

Words

  • advise = suggest
  • affect = to change something; influence something
  • appear = come up; to be seen; show itself
  • authorities = powerful organisation in the government that can make decisions about certain things
  • brain = organ inside your head that controls how you feel, think and the way you move
  • case = here: a person who has the disease
  • concerned = worried
  • consider = think, believe
  • contain = to keep in one place
  • cure = medicine that makes a sick person healthy again
  • detect = to find something that is hidden or difficult to see
  • develop = grow
  • disease = illness
  • fatal = deadly
  • fully = completely
  • global = worldwide
  • government = people who rule a country
  • infection = disease in your body that is passed on by a virus
  • insect repellent = substance that keeps insects away
  • joint = place where two bones are connected
  • major = here: important, very large
  • outbreak = when the disease suddenly appears
  • pandemic = a disease that spreads over a whole country or even the whole world
  • pass on = give from one person to another
  • Polynesia = region of the central Pacific Ocean with its many islands
  • pregnant = to have a baby inside your body
  • rapidly = very fast
  • rash = a lot of small red spots on the skin
  • spread = to move from one place to another
  • state = to say officially
  • symptom = a sign that something is wrong in your body
  • threat = danger
  • throughout = in all of
  • upcoming = something that will happen soon
  • vaccination = to give someone a vaccine to protect them from a disease
  • vaccine = a substance that has a weak form of a virus and protects people from the disease

First Gulf War – 25 Years Later

The first Gulf War, or Operation Desert Storm as it was called, took place 25 years ago.  On January 16 1991, cruise missiles and tons of bombs fell on Iraq’s capital, Baghdad , in an attempt to force dictator Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, which he had invaded a few months earlier.

Saddam Hussein’s army, at that time the fourth largest in the world,  was driven out of Kuwait after air bombardment that lasted over a month and a ground war of 4 days.

The United States led an international coalition force, which included 39 countries. In the course of 6 months 500 000 American troops were brought to Saudi Arabia, which also supported the west with air bases.

For the first time since the Vietnam War Americans used new weapons in combat, which showed their military strength . It was also the first time that a war was shown on live television, with CNN leading the way.

The decision to go to war with Iraq was made in the  UN Security Council. All of its members agreed that they could not let Iraq get away with invading a neighbouring country. The Iraqi dictator claimed that Kuwait was pumping oil out of Iraqi oil fields.

The first Gulf War destroyed Iraqi combat lines and infrastructure. It was a one-sided battle in which Iraqi forces suffered many casualties. The goal of Operation Desert Storm was only to liberate Kuwait, not to march on to Baghdad and oust the Iraqi dictator. That happened 12 years later, when Saddam was still in power.

The American Defence Department estimated that the first Gulf War cost about 61 billion dollars. More than half was paid by Saudi Arabia and other nations in the region.

 

Gulf war - American planes on the ground in Saudi Arabia
American planes on the ground in Saudi Arabia

Words

  • agree = to be of the same opinion
  • air base = place from which military airplanes can take off and land
  • air bombardment = to attack a place with bombs dropped from airplanes
  • attempt = try
  • battle = fight
  • billion = a thousand million
  • capital = the most important city in a country; where the government is
  • casualties = people hurt or killed in a war
  • claim = to say that something is true
  • coalition force = soldiers from many different countries fight together
  • combat = fighting
  • combat lines = roads that are needed to transport soldiers, food etc…
  • cruise missile = a rocket that is controlled by a computer; it can fly very low and carry powerful bombs
  • decision = choice you make after thinking about other possibilities
  • Defence Department = American government organisation that is in charge of the military
  • destroy = to damage something completely so that you cannot use it any more
  • drive out of = make someone leave
  • estimate = to calculate the cost of something
  • force =  to make someone do something
  • forces = soldiers of a country’s army
  • get away with = to do something bad without being punished
  • goal = aim
  • ground war = war with fighting on the ground
  • infrastructure = the basic systems that a country needs, like roads, bridges, schools etc…
  • in the course of = after a period of …
  • include = to have in it
  • in power = here: head of the country, dictator
  • invade = to enter a country with an army and take control of it
  • lead = to be in the front position
  • liberate = to help a country to become free
  • one-sided = here: one side is much stronger than the other
  • oust = remove from power
  • Security Council = part of the United Nations that tries to keep peace and stop conflicts around the world; there are fifteen members in the Security Council
  • strength = how strong something is
  • support = help
  • troops = soldiers
  • weapon = object you use to fight, like a gun, knife or bomb

Costa Rica Achieves 99% Renewable Energy

Costa Rica produces almost all of its power from renewable energy. The state electricity agency has stated that in 2015 the country produced 99% of its energy from renewable sources.

In the first two months of last year, the whole country operated on nothing but renewable energy. In the following months, 97% came from non-fossil fuels. There were 285 days without energy from fossil fuels.

According to the government, 80% of Costa Rica’s electricity is produced in hydro-power and geothermal plants. The Central American country profits from heavy rainfall and many rivers, which are the basis for producing electricity. Although last year was very dry, Costa Rica was still able to produce enough hydroelectric power.  Geothermal energy comes from hot spots and active volcanoes which are spread across the country.

In the future, however, Costa Rica wants to become less dependent on water power  and produce more energy from solar and wind power. The tropical country also has a huge biomass potential which it can turn into energy.

The 4.5 million inhabitants of Costa Rica have profited from lower energy prices, because the country  does not have to import that much oil and other fossil fuels. But the transportation sector still depends heavily on fossil fuels. Costa Rica  wants to make transportation free of fossil fuels by electrifying railroads and introducing electric taxis and buses.

Through its energy policy Costa Rica has sent a signal to the whole world that switching completely to green energy is achievable if you try.  The government has set an ambitious goal. It wants to become completely independent from fossil fuels by 2021.

 

Costa Rica - Hydroelectric power plant produces renewable energy
Costa Rica – Hydroelectric power plant

Words

  • according to = as said by …
  • achievable =  something that can be done
  • agency = organisation
  • although = while
  • ambitious = something that is not easy to do and needs a lot of of trying in order to succeed
  • biomass = material form dead plants and animals that can be used for making energy
  • dependent = need something in order to continue working
  • goal = aim
  • electricity = energy that goes through wires and cables; it gives us light  and heat and is used to operate machines
  • electrify = to make a machine work with electricity
  • fossil fuel = energy that comes from the material of dead animals and plants that lived millions of years ago
  • geothermal = from the heat inside the earth
  • government = the people who run a country
  • green energy = energy that is produced without using fossil fuels
  • heavy = strong
  • hot spot = place on the earth where it is very hot and there is volcanic activity
  • however = but
  • huge = very large
  • hydro power = producing energy from moving water
  • independent = free from
  • inhabitants = the people who live in a country
  • introduce = to start using
  • operate on = here: use
  • plant = here: building that produces electricity
  • policy = plan of action that the government uses
  • renewable = something that is used over and over again and replaces itself naturally
  • solar = from the sun
  • source = where something comes from
  • state = to say officially
  • switch = change to
  • transportation = system of moving people and products

 

Planet Nine – A New Planet Beyond Pluto?

Astronomers may have discovered a ninth planet, beyond Pluto,  in our solar systemPlanet Nine, as it is called, may have ten times the mass of the earth and four times the size. The planet, which has not yet been detected by telescopes, may take up 20,000 years to orbit the sun.

The closest the new planet comes to the sun may be about  15 times the distance of Pluto.  Then it heads out to a distance of 93 billion miles, or 75 times farther than the dwarf planet. Scientists are hoping to detect it when it comes closer to earth. Today’s telescopes are so strong that the planet should be able to be seen within the next few years.

Astronomers made the discovery when they saw small objects that were aligned in a row in the Kuiper Belt, a region that contains countless objects that orbit the sun near Pluto. This meant that they might be pulled towards another , far larger object, that couldn’t be seen.

The former planet Pluto is also thought to be one of the Kuiper Belt objects which have unusual orbits, unlike the orbits of the other planets. Planet Nine may be an object that was knocked out of the solar system when it was created.

For a long time scientists and astronomers have wondered if there were any planets  outside the orbit of Pluto. Ironically, the astronomers who discovered the possible existence of Planet Nine are the same who degraded Pluto to a  dwarf planet a few years ago.

Possible orbit of Planet Nine
Possible orbit of Planet Nine

 

Words

  • align = to put things in a straight line
  • astronomer = person who studies the stars and planets
  • contain = to have in it
  • countless = so many that you cannot count them
  • create = make
  • billion = a  thousand million
  • degrade = here: to lower the status from planet to dwarf planet
  • detect = discover something that is not easy to see
  • discover = to find something for the first time
  • distance = the space between two things
  • dwarf planet = object that goes around the sun but is smaller than a planet
  • existence = the situation that something exists
  • former = in the past
  • head out = move away
  • ironically = something that is the opposite of what you would expect
  • knock out = hit
  • orbit = to move around
  • scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
  • size = how big something is
  • solar system = the sun and the planets that go around it
  • telescope = object that looks like a tube and is used for making faraway things look larger
  • towards = to ; in something’s direction
  • unusual = not normal, not like the others

Ascension Island To Become New Marine Reserve

The British government is planning to make the ocean around Ascension Island a marine reserve. The island, located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean,  is a British overseas territory.

The new reserve will be created with the help of the Blue Marine Foundation and the Bacon Foundation, which has promised to donate £300, 000 to set up the natural habitat.

The ocean reserve is planned to be the size of the UK itself. Satellites and patrol ships will monitor activities around Ascension Island. They will also watch out for illegal fishing of endangered species. Tuna fishing will be regulated but not banned , because island inhabitants depend on tuna fishing for  a living and because the popular fish is in high demand all over the world.

The sea around Ascension Island is home of the world’s largest population of green turtles, as well as large marlin and sea birds.

When the new marine reserve goes into operation in 2017, a total of 2% of the world’s ocean’s will be under observation. Scientists claim that for all species to survive  and to enlargen the global fish population about 30% of the world’s waters must be monitored.

Other marine reserves include Palau in the northern Pacific, the Easter Islands  and Pitcairn in the southern Pacific.

Georgetown - one of the largest settlements on Ascension Island.
Georgetown – one of the largest settlements on Ascension Island.

 

Words

  • claim = to say that something is true
  • create = make
  • depend on = need very much
  • donate = give money to help an organization
  • endangered species = animal or plant that might stop existing because there are not many of them left
  • enlargen = make bigger
  • foundation =organization that collects money for a special event or special purpose
  • global = worldwide
  • goes into operation = starts working
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • habitat = place where plants and animals live naturally
  • high demand = when many people want to buy a product
  • illegal = against the law
  • include = also have in it
  • inhabitants = the people who live there
  • located = can be found
  • marine reserve = part of the ocean in which fish and other animals are protected and can live safely
  • marlin =large sea fish with a long sharp nose
  • monitor = watch carefully
  • patrol ship = ship that moves around to see if there is any danger or if anything unusual is happening
  • population = here: group of animals
  • overseas territory = here: land in another part of the world that belongs to the United Kingdom
  • popular = liked by many people
  • regulate = control, limit
  • settlement = small town
  • size = how big something is
  • species = group of animals or plants that are like each other and can reproduce
  • survive = live on after a dangerous situation
  • under observation = when something is closely watched

Worst Passwords of 2015

What were the worst passwords of last year?  According to SplashData , a password managing company,  the most common passwords were also the ones that were most insecure. At the top of the list were “123456” and “password”. Both came in top for the second time in a row.

The company, which has  now released the Worst Password List for a few years,  used over 2 million passwords that were leaked to them.

6 of the most common passwords only consisted of numbers. Among other passwords that are popular were”qwerty” (the letters are next to each other on the keyboard) , “football” , “welcome”  and words from popular films like “starwars”.

SplashData says that users have been trying to make passwords longer, but if there is a simple pattern behind it, it doesn’t really help. On the other side, only 3% of internet users used the  25 worst passwords. More and more people care about password security.

The company warns that choosing bad passwords endangers your personal data and the risk of someone hacking into your computer rises.

According to Splashdata there are a few things to consider when you choose a password:

  • Use a mix of numbers, letters (upper and lower case) and special characters.
  • Secure passwords should have a length of at least 12 characters.
  • Do not use the same password for all your internet accounts.
  • Try using a tool to manage the passwords that you have.
  • Do not use birthday dates or words that are recognised easily.

Having good passwords is becoming more and more necessary because cyberattacks are on the rise. Last year almost 500 million data records around the world were hacked.

Internet security experts are calling for a new method to access websites, for example  using your mobile phone or another other form of identification.

Worst passwords
Logging in to a password-protected account

 

Words

  • access = getting into a website
  • according to = as said by
  • account = you need it when you use certain websites ;  you have to log in with a username and a password
  • care =  here: think about
  • common =popular, much-liked
  • consider = think about
  • consist = to have in them
  • cyberattack = trying to harm a computer or a whole network
  • data = information
  • data records = information stored on a computer
  • endanger = put in danger
  • hack =to get into a person’s computer system illegally and use the information that is there
  • identification = document or information that shows who you are
  • in a row = one after another, without a pause
  • insecure = not safe to use
  • keyboard = set of keys on a computer you use to type in information
  • leak = to give secret information to someone
  • length = how long something is
  • lower case = letters that are not written as capitals
  • necessary = needed, very important
  • pattern = design that is always the same
  • recognise = know something because you have seen it before
  • release = to give to the public
  • security = safety , protection
  • tool = software
  • upper case = letters written as capitals

Microsoft Starts Minecraft For Schools

Minecraft, a video game with which you can build virtual worlds, will be expanded to classroom use. Microsoft bought the game from its Swedish creator for 2.5 billion dollars. Now, the software wants to offer schools a special educational version.

MinecraftEdu is an add-on to the game, that was specially created by teachers  for classroom use.  While thousands of classes around the world are already using Minecraft in their lessons, Microsoft wants to make it easier for schools to use the software.

Minecraft is a game that can be used in many subjects, including maths, science and geography. Microsoft wants to add new features to the educational version , for example letting students take snapshots and putting them into an online diary. The new version will allow children to download the game at home without having to pay extra for it. Microsoft is expected to charge students and teachers about 5 dollars a year to use the game in school and at home.

According to Microsoft , Minecraft has 100 million players around the world. It has become one of the best-selling games of all times. Pupils can create their own virtual worlds with the help of special building blocks. Experts say that Minecraft helps stimulate  the imagination of children in the classroom. In addition, teachers around the world create new content and share them with others, so that the Minecraft community keeps growing.

Microsoft plans to make the game available to pupils and students of all ages, from elementary school through to colleges. The company plans to add Minecraft to an Office 365 account, so that it can also sell more of its Office software.  Teachers can enrol in courses to learn the game.

 

Minecraft castle
Minecraft castle

Exercises

Words

  • according to = as said by …
  • account = here: to be able to use the software officially  for a certain time
  • add = put into
  • add-on = an extra part of a software that you often have to pay for
  • available = to be sold or offered
  • best-selling = here:  a very popular game that many people around the world play
  • billion = a thousand million
  • charge = to ask for money in order to use something
  • community = people who play the game around the world
  • content = here: new worlds, maps and building blocks
  • create = make, produce
  • elementary = the first few year’s in a child’s education
  • enrol = take part in
  • expand = grow, to become larger
  • expect = think that something will be done
  • feature = element or building block
  • imagination = being able to form pictures and ideas in your mind
  • in addition = also
  • offer = here: sell
  • snapshot = screenshot of a computer screen
  • stimulate = to make a person excited about something
  • use = using something
  • virtual = not real