The American government has released over 3000 documents relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. President Trump, however, has ordered some of the documents with sensitive information to be held back for 6 months after a request from the CIA and FBI. In 1992 President George Bush signed a law that required all documents about the JFK murder to be released within 25 years.
The published documents have not provided any sensational new information on the JFK assassination. The public had hoped that the released documents would bring more light into the former president’s murder. Experts say that the decision to withhold some of the documents suggests that the government wants to keep some things secret.
Many of the documents are incomplete and some are only memos. The files show how disorganised government agencies were during the 1960s and how they dealt with the assassination.
In a series of memos, the FBI reports on Lee Harvey Oswald’s visit to Mexico City, where he met with a Soviet agent shortly before the Kennedy was killed. The material shows that authorities were trying to find out if a foreign government – Cuba or possibly the Soviet Union – was behind Kennedy’s death.
There is still no evidence that there was a conspiracy to kill the president. Nothing suggests that Lee Harvey Oswald worked with a partner. There are, however, FBI documents that warned the Dallas police about a threat against Oswald. Kennedy’s killer was shot dead at the Dallas Police Department two days after the Kennedy assassination.
Among the documents are reports that are only indirectly related to the Kennedy killing, for example CIA plans to murder Cuba’s Fidel Castro .
agency = organisation or department in the government
agent = person who works for another government
assassination = the murder of an important person
authorities = organisation or department in the government
conspiracy = a secret plan made by two or more people to do something that is against the law
deal with = handle
decision = to do something after you have thought about it
disorganised = without a plan or system
evidence = proof that something happened
files = documents
foreign = from another country
former = earlier, in the past
government = the people who rule a country
incomplete = not having everything that should be there
provide = to give; make available
public = ordinary people in a country
publish = to make public
relating to = about
release = to make public for everyone to see
request = a formal demand for something
require = here: the law says you have to do something
secret = not for everybody to know
sensitive = something that you have to deal with carefully
series = a few
sign = to put your name on a document
Soviet Union = largest Communist country that existed between 1917 and 1991
threat = when someone says that they want to harm or trouble you
Che Guevara was a Marxistrevolutionary who was a close aide of Fidel Castro during the Cuban Revolution. He was killed in Bolivia 50 years ago.
Che was born into a middle class Argentinian family in 1928 and studied medicine in his youth. From the beginning he was influenced by left-wing ideas and strongly opposed the government of Argentine leader Juan Peron.
Instead of finishing his studies, the young rebel decided to travel around South America, where he witnessedwidespread poverty and oppression among the population. In the 1950s he travelled to Guatemala where he saw how the CIA helped overthrow a leftist government.
In Mexico, Che Guevara met Fidel Castro and his brother Raul. Together , they planned to overthrow the pro-western government in Cuba. After Castro took power in 1959 , Che Guevara held some top posts in his government and also became Castro’s military adviser. He strongly opposed the United States and its policies. Instead he tried to strengthenties with the Soviet Union and spread socialism to Central America.
The Marxist revolutionary was sent to developing countries in order to show them how Cuban socialism worked. In Congo, he trained rebels to fight against government soldiers. Che Guevara was finally captured in Bolivia where he was he was executedin 1967.
adviser = person who gives you advice because they know a lot about a topic
aide = person who helps a politician or leader
capture = to catch a person and keep them as a prisoner
developing country = poor country in Africa, Asia or America
execute = to kill someone as a from of being punished
influence = to affect or change the way someone behaves or thinks
instead = in something’s place
government = the people who rule a country
Marxist = person who supports the ideas of Karl Marx. He explained changes in history as a result of the struggle between social classes
oppose = to be against
oppression = when you treat a group of people in an unfair way and do not give them the same rights that others have
overthrow = remove a leader or a government
policy = the way a government plans to handle a topic or problem
poverty= the situation of being poor
revolutionary = person who joins or supports a revolution
socialism = system in which many industries are owned by the state and rich people pay more taxes than poorer ones
strengthen = make stronger
take power = here: become a leader or the head of a government
More than half a million Rohingya have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh in the past year. For ages, the people have been oppressed and discriminated against by the Myanmar government, which does not officially recognise them as a minority.
The Rohingya are a group of people without their own state. Living in western Myanmar, they have been deniedcitizenship, even though they have been there for ages.
The United Nations estimates that there were originally over 1 million Rohingya. Most of them are Muslim, a minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. They are among the most persecuted people in the world.
Since 2016, army forces have been carrying out attacks against the Rohingya. There have been reports that whole villages in western Myanmar have been burned down as well as accusations of mass killings. Refugees arriving in Bangladesh also tell stories of women being raped by soldiers.
Myanmar’s government says it is responding to attacks by rebel Rohingya groups. Officials say that the Rohingya are not being persecuted and treated like other ethnic groups in the country.
The United Nations , Amnesty International and other human rights groups have called for a stop to what they call the ethnic cleansing of western Myanmar.
accusation = to say that someone has committed a crime or has done something wrong
citizenship = the right to belong to a certain country
deny = here: not give
discriminate against = to treat someone differently or in an unfair way
estimate = here: to guess how many there really are
ethnic cleansing = to make people leave a country because of their race , religion or culture
ethnic group = group of people who belong to a certain race , or who have their own culture, tradition and language
flee – fled = to leave a place very quickly in order to escape from a dangerous situation
government = the people who rule a country
minority = small group of people who live in a country
oppress = to treat a group of people in an unfair way and not give them the rights that other people have
persecute = to treat someone badly or unfairly over a period of time, because of their religion, or social status
predominantly = mostly
rape = to force someone to have sex
recognise = to officially accept
refugee = someone who has to leave their country because of a war or other dangerous situations
Over 2 million people voted in Sunday’s referendum on whether Catalonia should become an independent state. The government of the province has claimed that over 90% were in favour of breaking away from Spain. Before the referendum took place , Spain’s Supreme Court ruled that the vote was unconstitutional.
The Spanish government in Madrid sent thousand s of policemen and other security officers to Catalonia to stop people from voting. Police in Barcelona and other towns fired rubber bullets at protesters and tried to stop people from going to schools and other public buildings used as voting stations. Hundreds of people were injured, many of them seriously.
About 7 million people live in Spain’s northeastern province. Catalonia has its own language and culture. In the past decades it has received more and more autonomy. However, Catalonian separatists still want independence and their own country. They say that the region is a rich part of Spain and keeps pouring money into poorer parts of the country. Catalonia is highly industrialised and represents about a fifth of Spain’s GDP.
The European Union fears that Catalonia may declare independence on its own and trigger a political crisis on the Iberian peninsula. This may lead to the rise of other nationalist movements, for example in Scotland or Belgium.
autonomy = the right to have your own parliament and make some decisions on your own
claim = to say that something is true
decade = ten years
declare = to say officially
GDP = gross domestic product = the total value of all the goods and services that a country produces in one year
government = the people who rule a country
Iberian peninsula = southwestern part of Europe, made up of Spain and Portugal
independent = free
in favour of = to be for something
injure = hurt
nationalist movement = group of people who want to the region to become an independent state
pour = here: give
receive = get
referendum = when people vote in order to decide on a certain subject
represent = here: to have a share of
rubber = a soft material, usually used to make tires or boots
security officers = people who are responsible for the safety of others
separatist = person who wants to break away from his home country and become independent
Supreme Court = the highest court in a country
trigger = start
unconstitutional = not allowed by the set of rules that a country is governed by
voting station = place or building where people can vote
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 legalizerecreational 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 physicalinfluence 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.
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.
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.
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
The American pharmaceutical conmpany Pfizer has said it will no longer sell drugs that can be used for lethal injections to the Amercian government. A total of 7 substances on the list are mostly used for operations and certain illnesses but are also in liquids used for executions. According to a Pfizer representative, the company’s aim is to save lives and not help kill people.
Pfizer says it will closely monitor buyers who try to resell the drugs to state institutions, which may use them for executions.
After Pfizer’s decision , there are no more companies in the USA and Europe that sell lethal injection drugs to the Amercian government . The European Union has banned the export of such drugs to the US.
As a result, state authorities are trying to find new drugs and combinations of substances that can be used for executions. Normally, three mixtures of drugs are used to execute a prisoner. The first one makes you unconscious , the second liquidparalyses the muscles and the third stops the heart from beating.
In the past few years, the number of executions has decreased, in partdue to the availability of lethal drugs. Last year only 28 executions were carried out in the US. Among the 32 states that allow capital punishment, all of them use lethal injections as the main method of execution but some allow the electric chair,hanging, the firing squad and the gas chamber as alternatives.
Human rights organizations and other groups opposed to capital punishment have welcomed Pfizer’s decision as a bold move to ban the death penalty in the United States.
according to = as said by …
aim = what someone wants to do or achieve something
authorities = group of people who make decisions and have power in certain areas
availability = the fact that something can be bought and used
ban = forbid, not allow
bold move = action that shows a lot of courage
capital punishment = to officially kill a person who has committed a crime
combination = mixture
death penalty = to officially kill a person who has committed a crime
decrease = go down
drug = chemical that is used as medicine
due to = because of
execution = the official killing of a person by the state
firing squad = group of people who are ordered to shoot and kill a prisoner
government = the people who rule a country
human rights = the basic rights that everyone should have, like the right to vote or the freedom of speech
illness = disease
in part = partly
lethal injection = a drug that is injected into your blood stream; it is used to execute people who have committed certain crimes
liquid = substance like water
main = most important
method = way
mixture = here: combination of liquids
monitor = watch closely
opposed to = against
paralyse = if a person cannot move arms or legs or feel anything
pharmaceutical = about producing medicine
resell = sell again
substance = here: drug, medicine
unconscious = if you are not awake and do not know what is going on around you