Diesel Cars Cause Thousands of Premature Deaths in Europe

According to a new report, diesel cars have caused  thousands of premature deaths in Europe in the past few years. These deaths could have been avoided if countries had met anti-pollution standards. The recently published paper comes almost two years after the Volkswagen scandal, in which the German car maker was caught cheating  on emission tests.

Europe is a continent with  about a hundred million diesel-driven vehicles, almost twice as many as  in all the other countries of the world  combined. Years ago governments and car makers encouraged consumers to buy diesel cars because they were cheaper, used less fuel and produced less carbon dioxide. Many governments also offered tax reductions if people bought diesel cars. What has not been known until now is that diesel cars produce more nitrogen oxides, which may cause lung diseases.

Italy, Germany and France were the countries that recorded the most premature deaths from diesel-polluted vehicles. Especially diesel trucks that drive in densely populated areas contribute to the high level of pollution.

The Volkswagen scandal also shown that emission tests are not accurate and that in some cases diesel vehicles emit up to 4 times more substances than they do when tested in a lab.

Since the scandal broke , governments in Europe and elsewhere have been trying to get people to buy more  petrol-driven cars. They have become more efficient than diesel vehicles and the difference in prices are not not as high any more.

diesel-powered car
Diesel powered car – Image by Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz

Words

  • according to = as said by …
  • accurate = detailed; exact
  • anti-pollution standards = laws that are made to keep pollution levels in a country low
  • avoid = stop ; not happen
  • carbon dioxide = gas that is produced when animal or people breathe out or when carbon is burned in the air
  • cheat = here: to trick people and not tell them the truth
  • combined = together
  • contribute = to help make something happen
  • densely populated = when many people live in a small area
  • efficient = if something works well
  • emission test = testing how much gas or dirty substances are sent into the air
  • emit = send into the atmosphere
  • encourage = to say that people should do something
  • especially = above all
  • fuel = liquid used to produce energy and make a car drive
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • nitrogen oxide = combination of nitrogen and oxygen
  • paper = report
  • petrol-driven = run with normal petrol, not diesel
  • premature = something that happens before the natural time
  • record = write down information
  • substance = material
  • tax reduction = to pay less tax than you normally would
  • vehicle = machine with an engine that is used to transport people or products

 

 

Largest and Smallest Animals At Risk of Becoming Extinct

Researchers have found out that the size of an animal is important when it comes to extinction. Scientists have determined that the biggest and the smallest animals are more at risk of dying out than medium-sized animals.

Heavy animals are mostly endangered by hunting and poaching while the smallest creatures may die out because their living area is being polluted. Among the most endangered animals are elephants, lions and rhinos. Public awareness is large  and campaigns to save such animals have been around for a long time. It is the smallest species that get the least attention. Especially fish and frogs are in danger of dying out.

The species that are most at risk have a weight of over 1 kilogram. They are in danger of being killed because we need food, skin and other items.

According to the study, animals that are becoming extinct affect large ecosystems, like  forests, deserts and oceans.

 

The common frog - an endangered species
The common frog – an endangered species – Image by Richard Bartz

Words

  • according to = as said by …
  • affect = to change a situation or a place
  • attention = to listen, look at or think carefully about something
  • campaign = actions that lead to solving a special problem
  • determine = to find out the facts about something
  • ecosystem =all the animals and plants that live in a certain area and how they live together
  • extinction = when a plant or animal stops existing
  • least = less than anything else
  • poaching = to catch or shoot wild animals illegally
  • pollute = to make something dirty and unusable
  • public awareness = most people know that a problem exists
  • researcher = person who studies a subject in order to find out something new about it.
  • scientist = a person who is trained in science
  • skin = the outer part of a person or an animal’s body
  • size = how big something is
  • species = group of animals that are similar and can have babies with each other
  • weight = how heavy something is

Prince Harry Talks About How He Struggled After Diana’s Death

For the first time England’s Prince Harry has talked about how he struggled emotionally after the death of his mother , Lady Diana, in September 1997. The 32 year old prince said that the the past few years of his life had been disturbing until finally his brother, William, urged him see a counselor.

Harry told journalists that it took him almost two decades to finally get over the tragic event. When Princess Diana died in a car accident, Harry was 12 years old.

He said that counselling helped him a lot because it is always good to open yourself up to a complete stranger. Apart from getting professional help, Harry started boxing to help overcome his grief.

In his late 20s Harry said that he had felt angry and left alone . He almost suffered a nervous breakdown as well. He said he had been dealing with the situation by not thinking about his mother and sticking his head into the sand.

Together with Prince William and his sister-in-law, Kate, Harry started the Heads Together campaign , a charity that helps people who have psychological problems.

Prince Harry
Prince Harry – Image: Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee

Words

  • apart from = besides, also
  • campaign = movement ; events about a certain topic
  • charity = organization that gives money or goods to people who are poor or need help
  • counselor = a person who advises you and gives you help
  • decade = ten years
  • disturbing = worrying, upsetting
  • emotionally = about your feelings and how you control them
  • grief = extreme sadness because someone you love has died
  • nervous breakdown = a mental illness in which someone becomes extremely nervous and cannot deal with normal situations
  • open yourself up = to stop being shy and say what you really think
  • overcome = to control a feeling or a problem
  • psychological = about the way your mind works  and how it influences your behavior
  • sister-in-law = the sister of your husband or wife
  • struggle = fight against
  • urge = to say you should to something

Netflix Hits 100 Million Subscribers

The American video streaming service Netflix has 100 million subscribers around the world. This year alone the company has gained almost 5 million new viewers. Its content can now be seen used in 190 countries. Almost half of Netflix’s subscribers live in the United States.

The company expects to expand even more quickly as services in Asia, Africa and Latin America have just been started. Almost 75% of the world’s population live here.

A major part of Netflix’s success comes from producing its own shows.  “House of Cards”  or “Stranger Things” have won many awards become worldwide hits.

The success of the video streaming giant is also reflected at the stock markets. At the moment, Netflix has a market value of  $63 billion and its stock price continues to rise.

In the past decade, Netflix has changed the way we watch television.  More and more people are turning away from traditional TV, where you have to watch a film when it is aired or wait a week to watch the next episode of your favourite show. With video on demand viewers tend to watch whatever they want when they want to.

Competitors of Netflix have started to gain ground and are trying to make life tough for the streaming giant. Amazon Prime has launched its own streaming service and the big US networks are streaming their own shows as well.

 

Netflix
Netflix

Words

  • air = broadcast on television
  • award = prize
  • content = here: films and movies it offers
  • continue = to go on
  • decade = ten years
  • expand = to make bigger
  • gain = to become more ; get
  • gain ground = catch up with; to become better
  • launch = start
  • reflect = show
  • rise = go up
  • stock market = place where parts of companies and businesses are bought and sold
  • streaming service = when you can watch a video while it is being broadcast over the Internet
  • subscriber = person who pays money every month to use something
  • success = to achieve what you wanted; to become very good at what you do
  • tend = have a habit of doing something; to do something regularly
  • tough = hard
  • value = what something is worth
  • video on demand = you can watch something whenever you want to
  • viewer = a person who watches something on TV or the Internet

Canada Plans to Legalize Marijuana

Canada plans to allow the limited use of marijuana for adults by the middle of 2018.  For some time now, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been promising  that he intends to legalize recreational marijuana. With the new law, Canada is joining  some US states which  have also voted to allow marijuana. It will become the second country in the world to legalize marijuana on a nationwide basis. A short time, ago Uruguay became the first country to officially allow its citizens the use of pot.

The Canadian plan will allow users to possess 30 grams of the drug and grow up to four plants at home.  While possession is to be  allowed , selling the drug without a licence will lead to up to 14 years in prison. The government has also set the age limit for buying and using marijuana in public to 18. It will also control producers and give special licences to sellers.

On one side , Canada’s government hopes that the new law will stop the spread of illegal marijuana. But it also wants adults to decide for themselves if they want to use the drug. Opponents of the new law state that the government is sending a message that marijuana is not harmful. Experts agree that pot may have a greater physical influence on your brain than tobacco.

According to a report recently released by UNICEF more teenagers in Canada use cannabis than anywhere else in the developed world.

 

A marijuana cigarette
A marijuana cigarette

Words

  • according to = as shown or said by …
  • agree = to have the same opinion about something
  • brain = organ inside your head that controls how you think, feel or move
  • cannabis = marijuana
  • citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
  • developed world = rich countries of the world
  • drug = substance that you smoke or use to make you feel happy
  • harmful = dangerous
  • illegal = against the law
  • influence = effect
  • law = rule that a government has passed
  • legalize = to allow by law
  • limited = controlled, not in a great amount
  • marijuana = drug that is smoked like a cigarette
  • nationwide = across the whole country
  • officially = formally
  • opponent = a person who is against something
  • physical = about the body
  • possess = to have
  • pot = another word for marijuana
  • recreational = for pleasure or fun
  • state = to say officially
  • UNICEF = worldwide organization that helps children who are poor or suffer from disease , hunger etc.

Mission Cassini Coming To An End

After 20 years in space NASA’s Cassini mission is coming to an end in April. The {tooltip} spacecraft {end-text} an object that can fly through space and to other planets  {end-tooltip}  , which was {tooltip} launched{end-text} to start a journey {end-tooltip} in 1997 to {tooltip} explore {end-text} to find out more about something{end-tooltip}Saturn and its moons, is running out of {tooltip} fuel {end-text} energy that it uses to travel {end-tooltip}and will crash on Saturn’s {tooltip} surface {end-text} the top layer of a planet {end-tooltip}.

Cassini arrived at Saturn in 2004, after a 7-year long {tooltip} journey{end-text} trip {end-tooltip}. It carried the Huygens {tooltip} probe{end-text} a small unmanned spacecraft {end-tooltip}, which landed on Saturn’s moon Titan in 2005. In the last {tooltip} decade {end-text} ten years {end-tooltip}Cassini has been exploring  the planet and its moons. {tooltip} Recently {end-text} a short time ago {end-tooltip}, the spacecraft has {tooltip} revealed{end-text} to show {end-tooltip}that there are giant oceans under the frozen surfaces of some of Saturn’s moons. It also {tooltip} discovered  {end-text}  to find something for the first time {end-tooltip}the existence of {tooltip} hydrogen  {end-text} colorless gas; the lightest of all gases{end-tooltip}, one of the {tooltip} building blocks {end-text} an element that is needed to produce something {end-tooltip} of life.

In its last {tooltip} task {end-text} job {end-tooltip} before hitting Saturn’s surface , Cassini will pass through the space between the planet’s surface and its rings.  It will travel closer to Saturn than ever before. NASA {tooltip} scientists {end-text} a person who is trained in science and works in a lab {end-tooltip}expect Cassini to find out even more about the Saturn’s {tooltip} mysterious {end-text} strange and unusual {end-tooltip}rings than we already know.

NASA's Cassini probe in orbit around Saturn
NASA’s Cassini probe in orbit around Saturn

 

Largest Non-Atomic Bomb Dropped Over Afghanistan

The American military has dropped the most powerful non-atomic bomb ever over ISIS {tooltip} strongholds {end-texte} places that are strongly defended by an army or by soldiers {end-tooltip}in Afghanistan.  The bomb , which weighs over 10,000 kg , was {tooltip} aimed {end-texte} directed at {end-tooltip} at {tooltip} destroying {end-texte} to damage completely {end-tooltip}tunnel systems used by {tooltip} ISIS {end-texte} the Islamic State {end-tooltip}.

The bomb is directed by GPS  and is {tooltip} designed {end-texte} was made for  {end-tooltip}to damage large targets. {tooltip} According to{end-texte}  as said by  {end-tooltip} officials 36 Islamic fighters were killed during the {tooltip} strike {end-texte} attack  {end-tooltip} near the Pakistan {tooltip} border{end-texte} line between two countries  {end-tooltip}.

{tooltip} Eyewitnesses {end-texte} people who were there and saw the explosion  {end-tooltip}in a nearby village said that they heard an {tooltip} extremely {end-texte} very  {end-tooltip}loud explosion and saw a thick cloud of {tooltip} dust{end-texte} very small particles of dirt / powder  {end-tooltip}.

The so-called “mother of bombs” was developed in 2003, but up to now, has never been used in the {tooltip} battlefield {end-texte} in a real war between two groups  {end-tooltip}

Gotthard Base Tunnel Becomes World’s Longest Railway Tunnel

The world’s longest railway tunnel, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, was opened after many years of construction. Trains can travel at speeds of up to 250 km an hour through the 57 km long tunnel. It took 17 years to complete and cost $12 billion. The engineering milestone will bring southern Germany and northern Italy closer together.

The new Gotthard Base Tunnel is also the world’s deepest tunnel, located 2300 metres below Swiss mountain peaks. A total of 2600 workers involved in building the tunnel had to excavate more than 28 million tonnes of rock.

Gottardino shuttle trains will be running between the two endpoints of the tunnel and make a stop at Sedrun, a mountain station in the middle. 65 passenger  and 240 freight trains are expected to travel through the tunnel every day. The Gotthard Base Tunnel  will reduce the time it takes trains to pass through the Alps. A journey from Zurich to Milan, for example,  will be reduced by an hour.

The new tunnel is part of a larger European transportation project that includes two other tunnels in the Alps. Ultimately, the EU plans a high-speed rail connection between its two major harbours, Rotterdam and Genoa.

During the course of history  the Alps have been a natural barrier to travel. In the past traders and merchants had to use mountain passes to travel from north to south. The first Gotthard rail tunnel opened in 1882, but as time went on it could not handle the growing traffic.

In the 1990s, Swiss citizens approved of a government plan to build a new tunnel. How hard such a construction feat would be soon became obvious . In places where there was hard rock boring was extremely slow. Workers could only advance only about half a metre every day.

The new tunnel is expected to reduce road traffic crossing the Alps as more and more lorries and cargo companies will put their freight on Swiss trains.

Gotthard Base Tunnel
Inside the Gotthard Base Tunnel – Image : Hannes Ortlieb

Words

  • advance = move forward
  • approve = to agree with something or to say yes to a plan
  • barrier = a mountain, lake or any other natural object that stops people from going somewhere
  • boring = to make a hole in the mountain by using a special machine
  • cargo = goods carried by a train, ship, lorry, plane etc..
  • citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
  • course of history = as time went on
  • complete = finish
  • connection = joining or linking two places
  • construction = building
  • engineering = the building of roads, railways bridges etc..
  • excavate = remove earth
  • feat = something very difficult to do
  • freight = goods that are transported from one place to another
  • handle = deal with
  • harbour = place where ships load and load goods
  • high-speed = very fast
  • include = something as part of something else
  • involved = here: worked at the tunnel site
  • journey = trip
  • located = where something lies
  • lorry = truck ; large car that carries goods
  • major = very big and important
  • merchant = person who bought and sold things in the past
  • milestone = an important development in history
  • obvious = easy for everyone to see
  • peak = the top part of a mountain
  • reduce = lower
  • shuttle = train that travels regularly between two places
  • speed = how fast something is
  • Swiss = from Switzerland
  • ultimately = here: when the whole project is finished

Barack Obama First American President to Visit Hiroshima

Barack Obama has become the first American president  to visit Hiroshima.  During his recent visit to Japan he visited the city which was destroyed by the first atomic bomb.

Together with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama laid a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. In an emotional speech, Obama did not apologize to the Japanese people, but called the dropping of the first atomic bomb the biggest crime in human history. The American president demanded a world without nuclear weapons. The United States would also continue to stand by Japan, which turned from an enemy into an important ally in Asia. After the ceremony, Obama signed the guest book  and spoke with survivors.

About 140,000 people were killed on August 6, 1945 when in the first atomic bomb exploded over the city. An additional 70000 died when the second bomb was dropped over Nagasaki. Nine days later Japan surrendered and World War II ended. Tens of thousands died from radiation illnesses in the decades that followed.

Obama did not mention the 20 000 Korean victims, who were forced to work for the Japanese in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing.

Although visiting Hiroshima has been a very sensitive issue for past American presidents, polls revealed that most Japanese wanted Obama to visit the city.

 

Hiroshima Peace Memorial
Hiroshima Peace Memorial – Image by Oilstreet

Words

  • additional = extra
  • ally = a friendly country that you help
  • although = while
  • apologize = to say you are sorry for what happened
  • continue = keep on
  • crime = an action that is against the law
  • decade = period of ten years
  • demand = want, wish for
  • destroy = to damage completely, so that nothing is left
  • emotional = with strong feelings
  • force = make someone do something
  • lay a wreath = put down a circle of flowers at a place where people have died
  • memorial = an object or building that has been built to honor a person or a famous event
  • mention = talk about
  • nuclear weapon = a bomb that releases energy by splitting atoms; it can kill thousands of people and destroy whole cities
  • poll = a study in which people are asked about their opinion on a certain topic
  • radiation illness = here : people who became sick because of the dangerous energy that came from the bombs
  • recent = a short time ago
  • reveal = show
  • sensitive issue = here: something that you have to deal with carefully, so that you do not make others angry
  • sign = put your name on a document
  • stand by = support, help when it is needed
  • surrender = give up
  • survivor = person who managed to live on after the bombing
  • victim = here: people who died

Heathrow Airport Celebrates 70th Anniversary

London’s Heathrow Airport is celebrating its 70th anniversary.  The airport opened commercial services in 1946. Today over 70 million people pass through Heathrow Airport every year. It services 180 destinations  in 90 countries. Over 93% of all passengers are international travellers. In 2015, Heathrow was the world’s sixth largest airport.

Heathrow,originally named London airport, lies 14 miles (22 km) west of central London . Construction of a military airport began in 1944. By the time it was finished the war had ended and Heathrow was turned over to civil authorities. The first  passenger plane flew to Buenos Aires. In its first year of operation, 60000 passengers travelled through Heathrow Airport.

As time went on Heathrow grew and grew. In the last 10 years the airport has invested billions of dollars  in modernising facilities for travellers.

Last year Terminal 1 was closed to make way for a modernised Terminal 2, which was reopened in 2014. Currently, the airport has two runways but there are plans for the construction of a third runway for Europe’s busiest airport.

 

terminal 5 at Heathrow airport - image:
Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport – image: Citizen59

Words

  • anniversary = day on which an important event happened years ago
  • celebrate = to show that a day in history is important by doing something special  on it
  • civil authorities = organisation that belongs to the public, not the military
  • commercial service =  here: people pay money for travelling to and from other places
  • construction = building something
  • currently = at the moment
  • destination = place to travel to
  • facility = place or building that you use for something special
  • invest = here: to spend money to make it better
  • operation = here: in use
  • originally = at first
  • reopen = open again after being closed for some time
  • runway = long flat piece of ground on which planes take off and land
  • service = to provide something that people need