The second largest diamond ever mined has been sold to a private owner at a public auction in London. The Canadian company Lucara brought the diamond to the surface in Botswana two years ago.
The gem, called Lesedi La Rona, which means “Our Light“, is the size of a tennis ball and has a weight of 1,109 carats. The diamond was bought by a London jeweler for $53 million , the biggest diamond sale in the last one hundred years. In the next few months the new owner of the diamond wants to cut it into several smaller stones.
The only diamond larger than the Botswana diamond was the Cullinan , which was discovered in South Africa in 1905. It was cut into several smaller diamonds, which are today part of the British Crown Jewels.
Lucara tried to sell the diamond last year but did not get the price it wanted, probably because the diamond is extremely difficult to cut. The Canadian mining company is one of the largest in the world and operates diamond mines in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Angola and South Africa.
carat = a unit for measuring the weight of jewels; 1 carat = 200 milligrams
discover = to find for the first time
extremely = very
gem = a beautiful and valuable stone
mine = to dig deep holes into the earth and get valuable minerals, like coal, gold or diamonds out if it
operate = to control a company or organisation
public auction = a meeting where everyone can go to and where land, buildings, paintings and other objects are sold to the person who offers the most money for them.
The next Olympic Games have been awarded to Paris and Los Angeles. Both cities will host the games for the third time. 2024 will mark the 100th anniversary of the second Paris Olympics. The city had already organised the summer games of 1900. The 2028 Olympics will be held in Los Angeles for the third time, after 1932 and 1984. It is the first time that the International Olympic Committee has named host cities for two summer games at once. Los Angeles originally wanted the 2024 games but agreed to hosting them 4 years later.
The IOC presented the new hosts at a time when the organisation is troubled by corruption and accusations that some members took bribes to vote for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The 2024 Paris Summer Olympics are expected to provide jobs and growth to the city. According to city officials, the games will generate 11 billion dollars in income and create jobs for 250 000 people in the next seven years. Although Paris already has many venues ready for the games, several new ones will be built. The city wants to attract visitors not only with the best sports stadiums but also with its unique cultural and historical sites.
Los Angeles organizers have also said they want to use many existing structures built in the 1980s in order to make the games as cost-efficient as possible.
After recent terrorist attacks in Paris, London, Barcelona and other major cities , security is expected to be the main factor for both events.
Today, not very many cities are keen on organising major sports events. On one side bidding costs millions of dollars and on the other side holding the games themselves costs local authorities and governments billions.
according to = as said by …
accusation = statement that says someone has done something wrong or against the law
agree = to say yes to something
although = while
award = give to someone
anniversary = date or year in which something important took place
bidding = here: to offer to organize an event
bribe = to give someone money illegally and you expect them to do something for you in return
cost-efficient = here: to save money by using buildings or infrastructure that already exist
generate = produce , create
growth = businesses and the economy grow in a certain region
host = here: city that holds a special event
income = the money you get for the work you do
keen on = happy to do something
local authorities = here: the people who are in charge of ruling a town or city
main factor = most important thing
major = very important; large
mark = celebrate an important event
official = person in an important position in a country
security = safety
several = many
site = interesting place
structure = building
troubled = worried; having many problems
unique = unusually special; very good
venue = here:place where a sports event takes place
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 denselypopulated 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.
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
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 engineeringmilestone 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.
Gottardinoshuttle 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 majorharbours, 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.
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