Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Fight Malaria

American scientists claim they have succeeded in creating mosquitoes that can fight off malaria. The scientists have inserted a new gene into the DNA of mosquitoes that could prevent them from spreading the infection to humans. Mosquitoes bite people and infect human blood with malaria.

Over 3 billion people, about 40% of the world’s population, are in danger of becoming infected with malaria. The disease kills over half a million people every year.  Over 80% of all deaths occur in Africa.

Scientists have been working hard to find ways of stopping the spread of malaria. Genetically modified mosquitoes would be able to resist the disease and stop it from spreading to humans. The new mosquitoes could be released in a tropical region, from where they could could spread to almost 99% of the whole mosquito population within a year .

Although such a new insect would not completely erase malaria from the face of the earth it could help lower the risk of getting infected. Together with new effective medicine malaria infections could be reduced substantially.

In other experiments, scientists have been trying to make mosquitoes infertile. As a result, they would ultimately die out . Environmentalists , however, warn that such a measure could have an undesired impact on the environment.





  • although = while
  • billion = a thousand million
  • DNA = substance that carries the genetic information in cells
  • effective = something that works well
  • environment = the world around us
  • environmentalist = person who is worried about nature
  • erase = remove completely
  • face of the earth = here: surface
  • gene = part of a cell in a living thing that controls how it looks and grows
  • genetically modified = to change a plant, animal or insect so that it becomes stronger
  • measure = act
  • malaria = disease that you get in a tropical country when a mosquito bites you
  • impact = effect, result
  • infertile = not being able to produce young mosquitoes
  • insert = put into
  • lower = reduce
  • occur = happen, take place
  • prevent = stop
  • reduce = lower
  • release = set free
  • resist = here: not be affected by the disease
  • scientist = a person who works in a lab and is trained in science
  • spread = move from one place to another
  • substantially = very much, a lot
  • succeed = here: to make something work
  • undesired = not wanted
  • ultimately = in the end

Star Trek Returns to Television in 2017

The most successful science fiction series of all times – Star Trek – is expected to return to television in 2017.  CBS has announced that the new series will be shown exclusively on CBS’s on demand service.  Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek series. The news comes as a big treat for millions of “trekkies”  around the world.

According to CBS, the new show will introduce new fascinating worlds and new characters,  who are prepared to “boldly go where no man has gone before”. Since the original series was shown in the 1960s there have been a number of full-length movies of Star Trek , as well as 5 follow-up series.  The last one, Star Trek: Enterprise ended in 2005. The new show is expected to be made with new filming technology, which wasn’t available 10 years ago.

CBS hopes the new Star Trek will attract new viewers, especially those who watch entertainment on Internet streaming sites.

Captain Kirk and First Officer Spock in the Original Star Trek Series
Captain Kirk and First Officer Spock in the Original Star Trek Series



  • according to = as said by …
  • anniversary = date on which something happened in the past
  • announce = to say officially
  • attract = be interesting for …
  • available = offered; to be had
  • boldly = not afraid of taking risks
  • especially = above all
  • exclusively = only
  • follow-up = here: the series that came after the original one
  • full-length = not an episode of a series, but a longer film you can watch in the cinema
  • on demand = only shown on TV if you want to see it; normally you have to pay for such services
  • treat = here: a special event

City of the Future in New Mexico

A new $1 billion city is being built in the desert of New Mexico. However, the city will be different from many other cities around the world. Nobody will be living in it, but thousands of people will be working there.  The new city of the future will be a gigantic practice area, to which companies can come and  try out new projects.

CITE, which stands for  Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation,  is a project of a fake American town. In an area of about 15 square miles companies can carry out projects in transport, security, farming and communications. The information collected  will be sent to a large underground IT center.The managing directors of the project say that without any people getting in the way, urban technologies can be developed and tested more quickly. Such new technologies range from driver-less cars, intelligent transportation systems, to new energy-saving devices or concepts of city farming.

The city will offer everything that a conventional city has – office buildings, churches, schools, recreational areas and shopping malls. Its founders say they want to give testers as much of a real environment as possible.

The project’s founders have had trouble finding the right place for CITE.  In the end, the New Mexican desert was chosen as the location of the high tech city, which should begin operations in 2018.


Green Roof Project - City of the Future
Green Roof Project – City of the Future



  • billion = a thousand million
  • concept = plan
  • conventional = traditional; everyday
  • develop = grow, make
  • device = small machine or object that does a certain job
  • fake = not real
  • founder = person who has invented or started something
  • getting in the way = here: interfere with; get involved in a disturbing way
  • gigantic = very, very large
  • however = but
  • managing directors = the people who operate and are in charge of the project
  • operations = here: start working
  • range = go from …. to …
  • real environment = here: the real world around us, in which we live
  • recreational = free time
  • security = safety
  • urban = city

China Ends One-Child Policy

The Chinese government has announced the end of its one-child policy. It has been in effect since 1979 and has slowed down population growth in China for over three decades. Without the policy, China would probably have a total of 1.7 billion people instead of the 1.3 billion it has today. Now Chinese couples can officially have two children.

The decision comes at a time when Chinese authorities are worried about their country’s ageing population. China’s economic growth is endangered because fewer young workers are entering the workforce. At the moment , about a third of China’s  population is over 50. By 2050, over 35 % of the population will be over 65.

China started its family planning policy, aimed at slowing down population growth,  at the end of the 1970s.  Couples who had a second child had to pay fines and suffered from disadvantages at work. The single child of a family was supported by state benefits and free education up to a university degree. While this policy focused mainly on urban areas, families in rural China were allowed to have two children if the first was a girl. The policy led to hundreds of thousands of abortions over the decades. Illegally-born girls were often laid away or adopted by westerners. This has led to a gender imbalance in China.

Human rights organizations continue to criticize China’s population planning. They say the new regulations simply change a one-child policy into a two-child policy. Women still do not have the right to determine how many children they want to have.

China ends one child policy
China ends one child policy



  • abortion =the killing of an unborn baby
  • aim = target
  • announce = to say in public; officially
  • authorities = government organizations that have power
  • benefits = here:money given by the state
  • couple = man and woman who live together or are married
  • decade = ten years
  • degree = you get it when you finish the university; a title that you can use with your name
  • determine = decide
  • disadvantage = bad side of something
  • endangered = in danger
  • family planning = to control the number of children a family has
  • fine = money that you pay as a punishment
  • focus = concentrate on
  • gender imbalance = when there are more men than women or the other way around
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • growth = the way something becomes larger
  • human rights = the basic rights that everyone should have
  • illegal = against the law
  • in effect = here: the time when it became law
  • policy = the way a government does something
  • regulation = law
  • rural = countryside
  • support = help; give money to
  • urban = city
  • workforce = all the people who work in a country

Sweden Introduces Six-Hour Work Day


Sweden, one of the world’s most advanced countries, has started to introduce a six-hour work day for its employees.  Around the country companies are making this change in order to make workers more productive and happier. At the same time breaks and meetings are kept to a minimum at work, so that workers can concentrate on their job and not get distracted.

Labour experts say that the traditional eight-hour work day is very hard to endure. Workers cannot focus on their job for such a long period of time. On the other hand many workers have a hard time going through their private life after a hard day at work. Health experts say, that after six hours of focused work, people still have enough energy to do things at home.

The change comes at a time when many employees around the world work 50 to 60 hours and more a week. Some of them are in danger of burning out after  a certain time. Working long hours raises the danger of heart attacks, strokes and other illnesses. The Swedish model hopes for workers to be able to work through to a higher age and not retire 65.

White collar worker in Sweden
Receptionist in Sweden


  • advanced = well-developed; rich
  • break = pause from work
  • burn out = to work so hard that you get very tired and cannot work any more because you are not able to think clearly
  • certain = special
  • concentrate = focus on; put your attention on
  • distracted = unable to concentrate because you are thinking about something else
  • employee = a person who works for a company
  • endure = to be in a difficult situation for a long time without complaining about it
  • heart attack = when you heart suddenly stops beating
  • labour = work
  • productive = to produce a lot in a certain time
  • raise = go up
  • retire = stop working because you have become too old
  • stroke = when a blood vessel in the brain suddenly breaks apart or is blocked; people who suffer a stroke may not be able to move parts of their body or cannot talk any more

Instagram Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Instagram, the most popular photo-sharing site in the world,  is five years old. Over four  hundred million users document their lives in pictures and share up to 80 million photos every day.  As a special treat, Instagram is publishing the most popular photos in its five-year history.

The Internet company was founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in 2010. At that time neither of them thought they would be on to something that big. As it turned out, Instagram became an immediate success. As more and more mobile phones were equipped with digital cameras, millions of people started taking selfies and posted them on social media sites. As time went on, more and more celebrities, politicians and other famous people started sharing their pictures with their fan community.

There are many reasons for Instagram’s success. For one, you can share pictures and videos across other social media sites. Back in 2010 many users were frustrated at how slow uploading photos was. Instagram makes them much smaller and improves uploading speed. Furthermore, Instagram allows you not only to upload photos, but to edit them and give them a more interesting appearance.

In 2012 Facebook bought Instagram for a billion dollars . As a result, the social media giant has invested  millions to make Instagram even more attractive for users.

Currently, Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian and Beyonce are the top celebrities on Instagram with about 45 million followers each.

Instagram logo
Instagram logo


  • appearance = looks
  • attractive = to have something that makes you want to use it
  • be on to = here: find something new and successful
  • celebrity = famous person
  • currently = at the moment ; now
  • document =write about something and record information about it
  • edit = change
  • equip = to have a certain tool that is needed
  • fan community = all the people who like you and want to find out more about your life
  • frustrated = angry
  • found – founded = start something new
  • furthermore =in addition; also
  • immediate = at once; quick
  • politician = person who works in the government or in a public position
  • popular = well-known, liked by many people
  • publish = release; give to the public
  • share = to have or use with other people
  • speed = how fast something is
  • success = when you achieve what you want to
  • treat = something special that you give to a person

South Korea Bans Child Monitoring App

The South Korean government has banned the use of a mobile phone app that monitors social media activities of parents’ children. Government officials say that the app, called Smart Sheriff,  has been removed from Google’s Play store because of safety issues.

In April South Korea’s government passed a law in which all smartphones sold to teenagers under 18 must have a monitoring software installed with which parents can find out where there children are and what they are doing. Smart Sheriff, an app approved by the government, became extremely popular and rose to the number one spot quickly. The app aims at keeping young adults and children safe from pornography , bullying and other dangers on the Internet.

Recently, software experts have found out that the app has security risks that may invite hackers to get into mobile phones and use personal information that is stored there. The app’s makers were given time to fix their software but apparently failed to make Smart Sheriff safe enough to use. The government then decided to ban the software completely, but they admit that  there is no way of knowing whether other software companies also have security problems in their apps.


Apps on a smartphone
Apps on a smartphone


  • activity = something that you do
  • admit = to agree that something is true
  • aim = to try to reach something
  • apparently = if you are not sure about something
  • approve = accept
  • ban = to forbid
  • fail = not succeed; not make something work
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • invite = let in
  • monitor = watch
  • number one spot = top of the list
  • official = someone who is in a higher position in the government
  • popular = well-known, liked by many
  • recently = only a short time ago
  • safety issue = here: problems that may lead to a da ngerous situation
  • security risk = here: the app is not safe enough
  • store = save

Antarctica Ice on the Rise

The American space agency NASA has recently found out that Antarctica’s ice sheet is growing.  Satellite images show that between 1992 and 2001 ice on the southernmost continent grew at a rate of  112 billion tons a year. After that the ice sheets still became bigger, but at a slower pace.

The new discovery comes at a time when many scientists claim that, due to global warming, the ice on Earth is melting away. In another discovery , scientists have found out that some parts of Antarctica are becoming higher, but they say this is because of more snowfall in the area.

According to NASA, global warming has led to rising temperatures, thus making it possible for more snow to fall on the continent. As a result the snow becomes more compact and eventually turns into ice. In the future NASA hopes to measure ice thickness more exactly  when they plan to launch new satellites into space by 2018.


The ice shelf over Antarctica
The ice shelf over Antarctica


  • according to = as said by …
  • claim = to say that something is true
  • discovery = when you find important information for the first time
  • due to = because of
  • eventually = slowly
  • ice sheet = cover of ice over an area of land
  • launch = start, send
  • measure = to find the size or length of something
  • pace = speed
  • rate = speed
  • recently = only a short time ago
  • southernmost = furthest south
  • space agency = organization that controls the launching of spacecraft in a country
  • thus = that is why