Once again, the earth has gone dark. Every year since 2007, thousands of public buildings and landmarks around the globe are switched off for an hour to raise awareness for climate change. Earth Hour 2018 started in Samoa and spread to all continents.
Numerous sites, including Sydney’s Opera House, the Paris Eiffel Tower and Brandenburg Gate in Germany, went dark at exactly 8.30 pm local time. In addition, millions of private citizensjoined in the event and turned off lights in their homes. 187 countries took part in this years Earth Hour , organised by the WWF.
In the past the Earth Hour movement has achievedbreakthroughs in many environmental fields. In 2014 Ecuador’s governmentbanned the use of plastic bags on the Galapagos island. Solar-powered lights were installed in remote villages in India and 17 million trees were planted in Kazakhstan.
According to the WWF, Earth Hour 2018 will concentrate on the preservation of forests and oceans, as well as wildlife protection. The organisation says that it hopes to raise awareness of global warming especially in the USA, where President Trump has vowed to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
achieve = reach, get
according to = as said by …
agreement = document signed by two or more groups or countries
ban = forbid
breakthrough = here : to do something really important after trying for some time
citizen = person who lives in a country or city and has rights there
environment = nature and the world we live in
especially = above all
globe = world
government = the people who rule a country
in addition = also
including = also
join = take part in an event
landmark = something that is easy to recognise, like a famous building
movement = campaign ; a group of people who have the same ideas and want to work together to achieve things
numerous = many
preservation = to keep something in its original condition
public = place where everyone can go to
pull out = leave; not be a part of
raise awareness = to get people to see and understand a problem
remote = far away and hard to get to
solar-powered = operated by the sun
spread = move to
switch off = turn off
vow = promise
wildlife protection = to save and protect animals that live in the wild
Tennis superstar Roger Federer has won his 20th Grand Slam Title and his 6th Australian Open trophy. In a dramatic match, the Swissman beat Croatian Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6 and 6-1. The match went on for over 3 hours with both players being exhausted at the end. It was one of the hottest tournaments ever played on the ATP tour. In some of the matches temperatures reached 40° C (104 ° F).
Federer is the first to win 20 Grand Slam titles. He has won three out of the last 5 Grand Slams. At 36 Federer became thesecondoldest man towin agrand slam title after KenRosewall who won the Australian Open in 1972. In addition, he has become the oldest player ever to climb to the top of the ATP rankings.
The sympathetic Swiss player had the majority of supporters on his side at Melbourne Park. Red and white flags dominated the arena. In a game that went back andforth, Federer’s experience was decisivein winning the final set.
After dominating men’s tennis for a decade, the Swissman’s intermediatedownfall started in 2013 when he lost in the second round at Wimbledon and failed to reach the quarter-finals in the following three Grand Slam events. After suffering from a series of back injuries between 2013 and 2016 Federer made an amazing comeback last year.
Tennis is a sport in which injuries take their toll during the latter part of an athlete’s career. Federer rivals Raphael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, both in their 30s, are also coping with injury problems.
ATP tour = worldwide series of tournaments for professional tennis players; they take place at the same time every year
back = back part of your body between the neck and legs
back and forth = here: both players took turns winning sets
beat = win against
comeback = here to win again after an unsuccessful time
cope with = deal with
decade = ten years
decisive = here: it is why he won
dominate = here: more than other flags
downfall = here: when you suddenly start losing matches
exhausted = very tired
experience = here: the skill and knowledge you have from winning many difficult matches
fail = did not
Grand Slam = the four most important tennis tournaments = Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open
in addition = also
injury = damage to a part of your body
intermediate = here: for a short time in between other phases
latter = last
majority = here: most of the people in the stadium
quarter-finals = the last eight players in a tournament
ranking = position on a list that shows how good you are compared to others
reach = get to
rival = person who you play against
suffer = to be in pain
supporter = person who cheers for you in an event
take their toll = to have a bad effect on something over a longer period of time
tournament = series of matches in which players play against each other until there is one winner
trophy = large object, like a cup or plate made out of silver or gold, that someone receives as a prize for winning a sports event
Baba Vanga, a mystic Bulgarian woman who died in 1996, has been known for predicting future events. She predicted the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the rise of Islamic terrorism and the Christmas tsunami of 2004. For 2018, there are two events that the blind woman said would become true.
China will overtake the USA as the world’s number one economic power and scientists will discover a new form of energy on our sister planet Venus. These two predictions may, in fact, just have a chance of becoming reality.
China’s economy has been growing steadily for many years. Today, China’s share of the world’s economy is at 15.6 % while the US still is the largest economic power at 16.7% . Many experts say that China will be overtaking the USA soon.
On the other side, NASA is not planning to send a space probe to Venus but will send a spacecraft to the sun in 2018. The mission was scheduled for 2015 but postponed because of technical problems. The probe will fly by Venus and scientists do not rule out new discoveries of the planet that may be made.
Baba Vanga, whom many followers call the Nostradamus of the Balkans, made predictions up to the year 5079, when, according to her, the world and the universe will come to an end. In 2028 the world will suffer a global hunger crisis and in 3005 a war on Mars will change the trajectory of the planet.
Referring to her predictions of 9/11 and Brexit, Baba Vanga said that two birds of steel would attack America and Europe would cease to exist in its known form by the end of 2016.
according to = as said by …
Balkans = countries in the southeast part of Europe
cease to exist = here: not exist anymore
discover = to find something for the first time
economy = system by which a country buys and sells goods and manages its money
follower = person who believes in what someone else teaches or says
global = worldwide
mission = trip by a spacecraft to the sun, moon or another planet in order to get information
mystic = person who tries to get to know facts by praying, and talking with God
overtake = here: to be better than ..
postpone = to change the date of an event to a later one
predict – prediction = to say that something will happen in the future
probe = spaceship without people in it that is sent into space to collect information
referring to = to mention or talk about something
rise = here: when someone becomes very powerful
rule out = to decide that something is not possible
scheduled = planned
scientist = a person who works in a lab and is trained in science
share = part
spacecraft = object that can travel in space
steadily = slowly and regularly
suffer = to be in a bad situation
trajectory = path that a planet takes around the sun
tsunami = very large wave that can flood large areas when it hits the coast
universe = all space, including all the stars and planets
California’s Department of Health has published new guidelines on how to handle cell phones. It warns that radiationemitted from cell phones can be harmful but does not say that cell phones are dangerous.
.Health authorities in California suggest a few measures cell phone users should take. When sleeping, you should keep your phone at least an arm’s length away from your body. You should also avoid keeping your cell phone in your pocket. They also recommend only using cell phones when reception is strong.
Some doctors agree that carrying cell phones close to your body could increase the risk of getting brain tumours , cancer and becoming infertile. It may also lead to headaches, hearing problems and a lossof memory. On the other side, there are many health experts who say that the risks cell phone usage present are not proven
Cell phones emitradiation in the form of low-energy radio waves when they receive and send signals from cell towers. The frequencies that cell phones use could be linked to various illnesses.
The new cell phone guidelines have existed since 2009 but not been published. Recently, a Berkeley professor won a lawsuit against the Department of Health to release the guidelines to the public and push for more action.
authorities = government organisation that can make decisions
avoid = stop; not do something
brain tumour = illness in your brain in which cells increase in an uncontrolled way
cancer = serious disease in which cells in one part of your body start to grow in a way that is not normal
cell tower = high object that sends out and receives cell phone signals
Department of Health = authorities that are responsible for health programs and health information that is given to the public
emit = release, send out
guidelines = instructions on how people should do something or deal with something
handle = use
increase = go up
infertile = if you are not able to have babies
lawsuit = a problem that is settled by a judge in court
loss of memory = when you start forgetting things
public = the people in general
publish = to release official information to all people
radiation = form of energy that is sent out as waves that you cannot see
receive = pick up, get
recently = a short time ago
reception = the quality of the signal you get for your cell phone
For the first time, scientists have recorded a humming sound that the earth has probably been producing for a long time. Scientists have been aware of the hum for decades, but for the first time, a team of experts have actually been able to record it
57 seismometers were placed over millions of square kilometres of the Indian Ocean. Ultralow radio frequencies were recorded on the ocean’s floor
For some time, geologists have pointed out that the earth is not silent but vibrates almost everywhere. However, it is a sound with a frequency thousands of times lower than what the human ear can hear.
Scientists don’t know what causes the earth’s hum but could learn more by getting a clearer audio signal. There are a few theories about where the sound may come from. Some say that it’s the echo of waves crashing onto the coast, while others think that it may be the atmospherein motion. Geologists, however, agree that the sound does not come from earthquakes because it is continuous.
In 1998 Japanese scientists proved that the earth’s hum was real, but nobody has been able to record it until now. Geologists hope that by analysing the recording they can get more information on the interior structure of the earth.
agree = to have the same opinion
analyse = look at very closely in order to get more facts
atmosphere = the mixture of gases that surrounds a planet
audio signal = sound
aware = to know that something exists
cause = the reason for something
continuous = when something goes on all the time
crash = to hit something very hard
decade = ten years
earthquake = a sudden shaking of the earth’s surface that causes a lot of damage
geologist = person who studies rocks and how they make up the surface of the earth
humming = a steady low sound
in motion = moving
interior structure = what something consists of, or what it is made up of inside
place = put, install
point out = to say how important something is
radio frequency = waves that are produced when you send out a radio signal
record = information about something that is written down or stored on a computer
seismometer = machine that measures how the ground moves
vibrate = to shake quickly and steadily in very small movements
Boxing Day, the 26th of December, has become a traditional day of sports in the UK, with many events taking place all across the country.
The day got its name from a time when many upper-class families gave boxes of gifts to poor people who had to work at Christmas while everybody else was celebrating. Boxing Day is celebrated in many Commonwealth countries.
The first important sports event on Boxing Day took place back in 1860 when two of the oldest football clubs in England played against each other. Today the Englisch Premier Leagueschedules a full round of matches on this Christmas holiday. In many cases, teams that are geographically close to each other play on Boxing Day so that fans do not have that far to travel.
While most European football leagues take a winter break, sometimes for several weeks, English football continues between Christmas and New Year.
The holiday schedule is welcomed by many football fans, but there are criticshowever who say that the Christmas season is a time when everybody should be at home with their families. Some managerspoint out that the season is very long and major teams need a break for players to recover from injuries.
Football is not the only popular sport that is played on Boxing Day. Horse racing and rugby have also seen regular sports events on the second day of Christmas. Traditional fox hunting is opposed by more and more Britons. In addition, Boxing Day has become one of the strongest betting days of the year.
betting = when people risk money on the results of games or future events
break = pause; a time during which you have no games
celebrate = to have fun or do something special
Commonwealth = group of about 50 countries that were once a part of the British Empire
critics = people who think that certain things are not good
everybody else = all the other people
gift = present
however = but
in addition = also
injury = when a part of your body gets hurt
major = important
manager = someone who is in charge of and coaches a football team
oppose = to be against
point out = to say something that is important for you
Premier League = the 20 best football teams of England an Wales which play against each other
recover = to get better
schedule = to plan something for a certain time
traditional = something that has existed for a long time
UK = United Kingdom
welcome = to be glad that something happens
winter break = time during which teams do not play because it is too cold or there is too much snow on the ground
The International Olympic Committee has banned Russia from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Russian officials are not allowed to take part in the opening ceremony and the Russian flag will not be raised.
Russian athletes, however, will be able to take part as individuals under a neutral flag if the IOC has determined that they have been clean athletes in the past.
The decision comes after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed that Russia was guilty of systematic doping during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In a case of state-sponsored doping, officials tampered with urine samples to hide athletes’ drug abuse. More than 20 Russian athletes, among them some medal winners, have been disqualified from the final Sochi results.
The whole investigation into the doping claim started when Grigory Rodchenko, director of Russia’s anti-doping lab in Sochi 2014, defected to the United States. He stated that the country ran an official doping programme and switched samples during the Games. Doping was especiallywidespread in sports like biathlon and cross-country skiing. A report by the World’s anti-doping organization (WADA) stated that between 2012 and 2015 a thousand Russian athletes in 30 sports benefited from the programme.
Although many countries welcomed the IOC’s decision, it was sharply criticized in Russia. Some officials urged the country not to allow any of its athletes to take part in Pyeongchang Olympics. Russia would have ranked first in the Sochi medal table, but lost 13 medals because of the scandal, 4 of them in gold.
although = while
athlete = someone who takes part in a sports competition
ban = an order that does not allow a country to take part
benefit = something that helps you get better
biathlon = event in which athletes ski across fields and then shoot a rifle
claim = to say that something is true even if you have not proved it
clean athlete = an athlete who has not taken any illegal drugs
confirm = to say that something is true by giving proof
cross-country skiing = a race in which you ski-across fields
decision = order
defect = to leave your home country to go somewhere else, mostly because you have something to be afraid of
determine = find out the facts
disqualify = to take athletes out of the official results
doping = the practice of using drugs to improve performance in sport
drug abuse = here: taking drugs illegally
especially = above all
guilty = to do something that is not allowed
however = but
individual = here: a single person, not part of a country’s team
investigation = here: when organizations try to find out the truth about something
medal table = list that shows the number of medals that each country has won
official = person in a high position in an organisation
opening ceremony = the first event at the start of the Olympic Games
raise = put up
rank = the position in a table
sharply = very strongly
state-sponsored = the government knew about doping
switch = replace, exchange
tamper = to change something without permission
urge = to strongly suggest that you do something
urine samples = yellow liquid waste that comes out of your body; by examining urine experts can see if there are any illegal substances that an athlete has taken
Facebook has announced that it will release a new version of its popular app Messenger for children aged between 6 and 12. They do not need their own Facebook account to access the app, called Messenger Kids.
With Messenger Kids, parents will be able to control what their children see and who they are allowed to communicate with. There are no ads in the children’s version and Facebook has promised not to use a child’s information for other purposes. In addition, children’s names will not be integrated into Facebook’s search tool. At the moment, the app will only be available in the United States.
Facebook aims at getting children to become used to its product even if they are under the age required to get a normal account. As the company is losing younger customers to rivals Instagram and Snapchat, the company is trying to get young users to connect to their product before competitors do.
Messenger Kids will offer text and video chat as well as stickers and drawing tools. Special detection filtersprevent children from sharing sexual content or violence online.
According to Facebook, over 90% of all 8 to 12-year-olds have smartphones or tablets. Many use their parents’ Facebook account.The new app is intended to give children a feeling of having their own account, while parents are still incontrol.Messenger Kids will not automatically be converted into a normal Facebook account when children reach 13.
access = use
according to = as said by …
account =a service that allows you to do or see things on the Internet
ad = picture, words or a short film which is intended to make people buy a product
aim = wants, plan to
available = here: use
announce = to say officially in public
communicate = talk, chat with or write to
competitor = rival
content = comments, pictures video etc..
convert = change into, automatically become
customer = person who buys something
detection filter = here: a tool that is used to stop bad things from getting seen by children
in addition = also
intend = plan to
prevent = stop
promise = to say that you will do something
purpose = here: other things
release = here: you can download and use it
required = needed
rival = a company that sells the same things as you do
share = exchange, swap
sticker = here: a frame with a picture or words; you can collect them
Short Message Service (SMS), also called texting, is celebrating its 25th birthday. The first text message was sent in Great Britain shortly before Christmas in 1992 in Great Britain. It was British engineer Neil Papworth who sent the first message from a computer to a mobile phone on the Vodaphone network. At that time mobile phones could only receive messages, not send them.
In 1994, Nokia presented its first mobile phone that could actually send and receive messages. It was the first phone that could produce more than an audio signal. Shortly afterwards the first commercial SMS service started in Finland. Text messages were limited to 160 characters.
25 years later text messaging is widelypopular. 97% of all smartphone users send some type of text message regularly. About 25 billion are sent every day. Today there are more complex messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messanger and iMessage.
Media experts regard texting as the first step towards today’s smartphones, which are basically pocket computers with countless apps.
Texting has changed the way we communicate. For the first time, you could send the same text to different contacts at the same time andit didn’tmatter if the recipient was reachable or not. A new language has also emerged with abbreviations and short sentences.
abbreviation = short form of a word or phrase
actually = really, in fact
basically = practically
celebrate = to show that an event is important
commercial = here: something that you can make money with
communicate = exchange information or get into contact with each other
complex = advanced; with many different parts
countless = very many
emerge = develop, appear
engineer = person who designs and builds machines and other objects
limit = only allow
network = here: system of telephone lines that are connected to each other
Voyager 1 is the first man-made object to leave the solar system. 37 years after it was launched, NASA’s engineers fired the spacecraft’s backupthrusters. The primary thrusters have been getting weaker over the last few years.
Voyager’s thrusters were fired for a few milliseconds from a distance of 13 billion miles in order to reposition the spacecraft so that the antennae would point towards earth.
Nobody at NASA knew if firing the thrusters would work after decades of inactivity. After 19 hours, the time which it took for the signal to get back to earth, it was confirmed that the thrusters had actually been fired. Voyager 1 will now be able to operate and send data back to earth for another 2 to 3 years.
As Voyager 1 software dates back to the 1970s, scientists had to examine the software code to make sure the engines worked correctly.
Voyager 1 and its twin Voyager 2 were launched in 1977 to carry out a grand tour of the solar system. They passed Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. After that, the spacecraft kept on flying and passed the boundaries of the solar system. In the past decades, the two spacecraft made great discoveries, including active volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io and a methane atmosphere on Saturn’s moon Titan.
Although Voyager 2’s thrusters are in a better condition than it’s sister craft NASA also plans to fire them in the near future.
although = while
backup = something that you use to replace something that doesn’t work
billion = a thousand million
boundary = where something ends
condition = shape
confirm = know for sure that something has worked
correctly = in the right way
data = information
dates back = here: is from a certain time in the past
decade = ten years
discovery = to find something for the first time
distance = the amount of space between two objects
engine = machine that makes something travel
engineer = someone whose job it is to design and build machines, rockets, bridges etc..
examine = look at something very closely
fire = here: to make something work
grand tour = here: a journey that takes you far away to all the planets of our solar system
inactivity = here : not in operation
launch = start into space
man-made = made by a person, not nature
methane = gas that you can not see or smell, but which is burned to give heat
near future = sometime soon
operate = work the way it should
primary = most important, main
reposition = here: to move it into a new position
scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
solar system = our sun and the planets that go around it
spacecraft = object that can travel in space
thruster = small engine in a spacecraft that controls how it flies by pushing out small amounts of gas