Malala Yousafzai, a 20-year-old female human rights activist, has returned to Pakistan for the first time since being shot by Taliban extremists. She was attacked and shot in the head on a school bus in 2012 because she had been demonstrating for western values and more education for girls. Malala kept a diary about girls’ life under Taliban rule. It was turned over to the BBC and made public.
Yousafzai’s arrival in Pakistan and her itinerary of the four-day visit was kept secret by Pakistani police. Ms Yousafzai said that it had been her wish to come back to Pakistan and speak with ordinary citizens there.
After the attack six years ago Malala Yousafzai was transported to the UK where a bullet was removed from her head. She recovered fully and is now studying at Oxford University.
In 2013 Yousafzai appeared before the United Nations, where she receivedstanding ovations for her courageous action. In 2014 she became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Since then the young activist has been the figurehead of the Malala Fund, an organisation which raises money to help girls and young women in need of education.
Yousafzai’s return to Pakistan has not been welcomed by everyone. Although she has many supporters in her home country Pakistan, the country’s male-dominated society has criticized her for actively fighting for female rights.
Especiallyfundamentalists and conservative men are against her and have organised hate campaigns on the internet. Many say that women do not need education and should maintain their traditional role in the household.
actively = here: not just talking but doing something or taking action
although = while
appear = here: to hold a speech
arrival = when you come to a place
attack = to hurt someone with a weapon
bullet = small piece of metal that comes out of a gun when you shoot
citizen = person who lives in a country and has rights there
courageous = brave
demonstrate = to protest for or against something in front of many people
especially = above all
figurehead = someone who is the leader of a movement or organisation
fully = completely
fundamentalist = someone who follows religious laws very strictly
extremist = someone who has very radical opinions about politics and society
hate campaign = things that a person does in order to harm someone they don’t like
human rights activist = a person who fights for basic rights that everyone should have
in need of = who need
itinerary = a list of things you want to do or places you want to visit
maintain = keep up
make public = publish; show to everybody
male-dominated society = country where men are more important than women and have more power
Nobel Peace Prize = prize that is given each year to a person who has done important work to make the world a safer and more peaceful place
ordinary = normal
raise = collect
receive = get
recover = to get well again
remove= take out of …
rule = government
secret = here: known only to a few people
standing ovations = people get up and clap their hands loudly to show that they like what you have said or done
supporter = person who wants to help you and shares your opinions
Taliban = group that took control of most of Afghanistan in 1997. They are known for following Islam very strictly.
traditional role = here: what they have always done
welcome = to be glad about something
western values = the way people in western countries live and what they think is good or bad
One of the greatest mysteries of aviation history happened on March 8, 2014. Four years ago Malaysia Airlines MH370 went missing on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane left its programmedflight path and headed south towards the Indian Ocean. During the last four years, several search teams have tried to locate the missing plane, but up to now, it hasn’t been found.
The Malaysian Boeing 777 with 239 passengers on board disappeared from ground stationradar screens but flew on for another six hours. Nobody knows what happened during this time. The last known location of MH370 was somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean near Australia. A few parts of the plane were washed up on Africa’s east coast and on islands in the Indian Ocean
Australia, China and Malaysia have taken part in hi-tech search operations that covered a total area of 120,000 square kilometres and cost $200 million. Now, another search is being conducted by an American firm.
Investigatorsspeculate on what may have happened on board MH370. Some experts state that there may have been some kind of mechanical failure while others consider a suddenloss of oxygen in the cabin and cockpit. Officials do not rule out the possibility of the pilot crashing the plane deliberately in unknown waters.
Aviation inspectors say that it is important to find out what happened to MH 370 in order to prevent such an accident from happening again.
aviation = the science of flying an airplane
conduct = carry out
consider = think about
cover = stretch = reach from one place to another
deliberately = on purpose; if you really want to do something
disappear = here: to be lost; not seen
firm = company
flight path = the course an airplane takes
ground station = here: building that watches and has contact with planes
head = to go in a certain direction
inspector = person who checks to see if something is done the way it should be
investigator = person who has the job of finding out what caused the accident
hi-tech = with the best and most modern technology
locate = to find out where something is
loss = to lose something
mechanical failure = an object or a machine on board the plane did not work the way it should have
official = person in a high position in an organisation
oxygen = element that is in the air and which we need to breathe
possibility = here: something may have happened
prevent = stop from happening again
programmed = here: the course it should have taken, according to flight computers
radar = machine that uses radio waves to find where something is and watch its movements
several = some
speculate = to guess about the possible causes or effects of something without knowing all the facts and details
sudden = something happening quickly
unknown = not known
wash up = when something drifts from the open sea to the coast
The Indian government has announced that 63 million females are missing from its population. About 2 Indian females go missing across all age groups because of abortions, diseases and malnutrition.
As in China, Indian societyprefers men to women. Many families would rather have a son than a daughter. This can be seen in the country’s birth statistics. For every 1,000 males that are born, there are only 940 females, which is much lower than average in many countries. According to population experts, there are about 21 million unwanted girls in India, females whose parents actually wanted a son.
Although testing for the gender of an unborn child is illegal, it still happens in many areas.
In Indian society, not only low-income families in rural areas prefer having a son instead of a daughter. In upper-class families, sons carry on the family tradition or take over the family business. While land and propertypass on to a family’s son, many parents have to pay a fee, called dowry, when their daughter marries.
Social problems also arise in Indian society. Girls are often treated worse than boys. Some families keep on having babies until they get a son. Although the preference for boys in Indian society cannot be ignored, the situation of girls and young women is improving. They are being better educated and have more opportunities in the workforce than decades ago.
abortion = a medical operation that kills an unborn baby
according to = as said by …
although = while
announce = to say officially, in public
arise = come up; emerge
average = normal, usual
decade = ten years
fee = amount of money you have to pay to someone
gender = being male or female
government = the people who rule a country
ignore = to pay no attention to something
illegal = against the law
improve = to get better
low-income = if you earn very little money
malnutrition = when someone becomes ill or weak because they have not had enough to eat
opportunity = here: the chance to get a job
pass on = to give to someone else
population = all the people who live in a country
prefer = to like something more than something else
property = land that you own
rural = in the countryside
society = people in general and how they live together
take over = continue; take control from someone else
Two monkeys have been cloned in a Chinese laboratory. They were created with the identicaltechnique used to clone Dolly, the sheep back in 1996. Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua were born a few weeks ago at a Chinese lab. Researchers say they are growing normally.
Over two decades ago, Dolly, became the first successfully cloned mammal. Since then cows, pigs, dogs and other mammals have been cloned. The cloning of primates was thought to be more difficult than the creation of other mammals in a lab. The Chinese team has brought the scientific community one step closer to the cloning of humans.
The technique used in the test involves transferring the nucleus of a cell into an egg which has had its nucleus removed. The experiment was remarkable because it used fetal cells instead of adult cells. It took the Chinese scientists many attempts and 127 eggs to clone just two monkeys.
According to scientists, the cloning of monkeys will help to research human diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also important in drug research.
China has invested heavily in research in the past years. The successful test came at a time when American and European scientists have backed away from using monkeys and apes for ethical reasons.
according to = as said by …
Alzheimer’s disease = disease that affects the brain, especially of older people; it makes it difficult for you to move, talk or remember things
attempt = try
back away = stop doing something
cancer = serious illness in which cells can grow in an uncontrolled way
clone = an animal or plant produced by scientists from one cell of another animal or plant so that they are exactly the same
creation = making something
decade = ten years
disease = illness
drug research = creating new forms of medicine
ethical = something that is morally good or bad
fetal = belonging to an unborn baby or animal
human = a person
identical = the same
including = also
invest = put money into …
laboratory = room or building in which scientific experiments take place
mammal = type of animal that drinks milk from its mother’s body when it is young; humans, dogs and cows are mammals
nucleus = the central part of an atom
primate = member of a group of mammals that includes humans and monkeys
remove = take away
remarkable = unusual, surprising
researcher = person who studies something in order to find out more about it
scientific community = all the people who do research work in labs
China has put a ban on all ivory trade in the country. The ban came into effect on January 1 of this year. 67 official ivory processing factories and shops were closed last year and a remaining 100 were shut down on December 31. A similar ban in the U.S. went into effect in June 2016.
The Chinese decision to stop the ivory trading business has been welcomed by the World Wildlife Fund and other organisations as a major effort in protecting the world’s elephant population. It is estimated that over 30,000 African elephants are killed every year.
Chinese citizens regard ivory as a status symbol. People buy jewellery, chopsticks and other objects made of ivory, leading to the development of one of the world’s largest ivory markets. When trading ivory was officially banned worldwide in 1990, China continued to sell it through shops and factories. The legal trade also brought illegal ivory into the country.
However, there is a majorconcern that the new law does not apply to HongKong, an important ivory trading hub. Authorities in the former British colony are working on a ban of their own, expected to take effect soon. On the other side, customers will probably go to Laos, Vietnam or other Asian countries, where trading laws are not so strict.
In the past year, ivory prices started to go down as more and more Chinese shops were closing. The ban will have a big impact on African countries, especially Kenya and Tanzania, wheremost of the elephant poaching is taking place.
apply = take effect
authorities = government organisations that have the power to make decisions
ban = to forbid something; not allow
citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
concern = feeling of worry about something important
development = growth
effort = try
especially = above all
estimate = to calculate how big something is by the information that you have
former = in the past
however = but
into effect = start to work
illegal = not allowed; against the law
ivory = hard, smooth yellowish-white material from the long teeth of elephants
jewellery = small things that you wear for decoration, like necklaces or rings
legal = allowed by the government
major = important
official = allowed by the government
poaching = to shoot or catch animals illegally
processing = here: when you make an elephant’s tusk into jewellery and other objects
protect = here to keep animals safe
remaining = those that were left
similar = almost the same
status symbol = something that you have that you think shows high social rank or position
strict= here: law that must be obeyed
trading hub = here: a place where ivory is bought and sold
welcome = to be glad that something has happened
worldwide = around the world
World Wildlife Fund = organisation that tries to save and protect endangered animals
In an attempt to reduce the number of accidents and make climbing safer, Nepal has banned solo mountaineers from climbing Mount Everest and other peaks. In addition, beginning in January 2018, all foreign climbers will need a guide. The new law also prohibits blind and double amputee climbers from trying to reach the top peaks.
More than 200 people have died in an attempt to reach Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, since 1920. The majority of deaths have occurred within the last 40 years. Recently, an 85-year-old mountaineer died in an attempt to be the oldest human to reachthe top of MountEverest. Two Europeans died while making a solo climb last spring.
Although mountaineers die for a number of reasons, almost every fifth death is caused by acute mountain sickness. Authorities have announced that they will checkmedical certificates of climbers to see if they are physically capable of sucha demandingtask.
In addition to more safety, Nepalese authoritieshope that the new law will createmore jobs for mountain guides in the country. The government will also give Everest climbing certificates to high altitude guides and workers hired by foreign climbers.
Local citizens have welcomed the new law, but some officials fear that banning physically handicapped people from climbing could get them into conflict with human rights organisations.
According to statistics, 4,800 climbers have reached the top of Mount Everest since Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary’s historic climb in 1953.
according to = as reported by …
acute = an illness that comes very quickly
although = while
announce = to say officially
attempt = try to do something
authorities = organisation in a government that controls and decides certain things
ban = stop; forbid
capable = able
create = make
demanding task = activity that is very difficult to do
double amputee = someone who has lost both legs or both arms
foreign= from another country
guide = a person who shows you the way
high altitude = very high place
hire = to pay money to a person for a job they do
historic = when something important happened in history
human rights organisation = organisation in which people fight for the basic rights that everyone should have, like the right to vote or freedom of the press
in addition = also
law = rule, regulation
local citizen= person who lives in the region
majority = most of
medical certificate = piece of paper you get from a doctor or hospital that shows you are fit to do something
mountaineer = person who climbs high mountains in their free time
occur = happen
official = person who is in a high position in an organisation
peak = the highest part of a mountain
physically handicapped = person who cannot use parts of their body because of an accident or illness
Many great civilisations in history developed along rivers. Up to now, historians have assumed that one of the oldest civilisations grew on the banks of the Indus River and its tributaries. Now, scientists may have found proof that people settled in the region after the Indus River had changed its course.
Archaeologists and scientists who have been working the region took probes from dried up river beds. They found out that water hadn’t run through the Indus Valley for over 8,000 years. That means that when people started settling in the area about 5,000 years ago there was no river. In addition, some ancientsites were found in the old river bed, which would not have been the case if a river had been flowing through it.
According to experts, the people who lived during that time may have got their water from yearly monsoon rains. There may have also been underground water supplies that they accessed.
Other great cultures used the advantages of a river to bring water to their fields and as a means of transportinggoods throughout the region. That happened in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Historians point out that civilisations do not necessarily need to be near a river in order to grow. In fact, not having a river nearby may have advantages as well because people would not have to deal with regular floods.
access = use
according to = as said by …
advantage = good side of something
Ancient Egypt = old civilisation that grew along the Nile River thousands of years ago
ancient site = a place where something was built a long time ago
archaeologist = person who studies old societies by looking at what is left of buildings or the objects that people made at that time
assume = think that something is true although you can not prove it
bank = land along the side of a river
course = path
deal with = handle a problem
develop = grow
flood = when an area of land becomes covered with water
goods = products
historian = someone who studies history
in addition = also
means of transporting = what you use to bring things from one place to another
Mesopotamia = area in western Asia along the River Tigris and Euphrates; in ancient times the world’s first cities were built andan advanced civilisation developed there
monsoon = rainy season in India and southeast Asia; it lasts between April and October
not necessarily = when you don’t really need something in order for something else to work
probe = rocks from an area
proof = facts, information or documents that show that something is true or has happened
river bed = the ground at the bottom of a river
scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
settle = to start living in a place for the first time
supply = something that you need and use every day
tributary = a small river that flows into a larger one
According torecent scientific researchconducted by Germany’s Max Planck Institute, the plague was in Europe as far back as the Stone Age. When scanning the remains of 500prehistoric skeletons, scientists found plague bacteria in six individuals. The samples come from Russia, Germany and the Baltic countries.
The deadly bacterium came to Europe during the mass migration of people who moved from Central Asia eastwards about 5,000 years ago. The findings suggest that the disease came to Europe in waves during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Some experts think that people may have been moving eastwards to escape the bacterium.
Most of the people at that time were nomadic farmers who travelled with their livestock. Animals may have harboured the plague bacterium and helped spread it.
By analyzing the bacterium scientists hope to find out how it evolved and became more deadly over periods of time.
The plague was responsible for many mass killings in history. The deadliest was the Black Death which occurred in Europe during the 14th century and killed about a third of the continent’s population. It still causes deaths in certain areas of the world. Recent outbreaks in Madagascar have killed hundreds of people.
according to = as said by …
bacterium, bacteria = some living things, some of which cause illnesses or diseases
Baltic countries = Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
Bronze Age = time between 6,000 and 4,000 years ago when bronze was used for making tools
century = a hundred years
conduct = do, carry out
disease = illness
escape = get away from
evolve = grow; develop; change
harbour = here: to have something in them that is dangerous
livestock = animals such as cows, sheep, goats that are kept on a farm
mass migration = when many people leave their homes, often in order to escape from a dangerous situation
Neolithic = the last period of the Stone Age, about 10,000 years ago, when people started to live in small groups
nomadic = people who travel from place to place instead of living in one place all the time
outbreak = when something suddenly starts to happen
plague = deadly disease that produces high fever and swollen places in the body; it often leads to deaths of a large number of people
prehistoric = time in history before anything was written down
recent = a short time ago
remains = what is left of a body
research = to study a subject seriously so that you can find out more about it
responsible = the reason for something
scan = look at something carefully
scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
spread = take from place to place
suggest = imply; to say that something is probably true
Stone Age = early time in human history when stone was used for making tools
For the first time in history, China has overtaken the United States in the number of supercomputers. Currently, China has a total of 202 of the world’s 500 fastest computers, up from 159 half a year ago. The number of US supercomputers has dropped to 144.
The world’s most powerful computer is located in China. The Sunway TaihuLight , at Wuxi can do 93 quadrillioncalculations per second. The fastest UScomputer,the Titan, is ranked fifth while Europe’s speediest computer is Switzerland’s Piz Daint, ranked third.
Supercomputers are machines that occupyentire buildings and use the combined power of thousands of processors. They are used to carry out special tasks that involve a huge number of calculations. Among them are weather forecasts and climate studies, as well as strategic tasks like nuclear weapons simulations.
Chinese supremacy in the world of supercomputing reflects the country’s investment in research and development. One-fifth of the money used on research and development around the world is spent in China.
On the other side, many Chinese systems have been created to earn money. Processing power is rented to other national and international companies.
For years the speed of supercomputers has steadily increased although since 2012 this increase has slowed down.
although = while
calculation = here: a single task
combined = everything put together
create = make
currently = at the moment, now
drop = go down
entire = whole
huge = very big; very many
investment = to use money for special things
involve = need
located = can be found
nuclear weapons simulation = here: software that tries to find out how nuclear bombs will affect the world and its population if they are used
occupy = use up; need
overtake = to be better than
processor = central part fo a computer that deals with commands and the information you give it
quadrillion= the number one followed by 24 zeros
ranked = position in a list
reflect = show, demonstrate
rent = let someone use something for money
research and development = to study special fields and use new ideas to create new things
speediest = fastest
steadily = slowly
strategic = here: about the military
supremacy = being number one or the best in the world
task = piece of work
weather forecast = a description of what the weather will be like in the next few days
Singles Day is the biggest e-commerce day in the world. Organized by China’s Alibaba, shopping sales on November 11 hit a record $25 billion, 40% more than on Singles Day 2016. In contrast, Prime Day, organized by Amazonachieved only $1 billion in sales. During the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend of 2016 American online shoppers spent $5 billion.
Singles Day started out as an informal holiday in China, celebrating people who stayed single. Similiar to Valentine’s Day in the western world Singles Day took place on 11/11 . In 2009, Alibaba turned it into a shopping holiday and in the past 8 years, sales have steadilyincreased.
Although the event targets mostly Chinese customers, shoppers came from 220 countries. Over 80 brands took part in the event, with Nike and Xiaomi Corp. among the biggest winners. Household goods and electrical appliances were the most bought products, but customers soughtbargains for almost everything, ranging from cheap toilet paper to rice.
At its peak Alibaba’s computers handled 250 000 transactions per second, most of them coming in via mobile phones. In the weeks before the event was held, Alibaba had helped 600,000 companies upgrade their computer systems to make them fit for Singles Day.
The event was also turned into a gala in Shanghai where celebrities Nicole Kidman and tennis star Maria Sharapova counted down the seconds until the world’ largest sales event started.
Many critics of the event say that Singles Day is environmentallycontroversial. It creates an enormous amount of waste. According to Greepeace, 1 billion packages were delivered in the days that followed the event.
Alibaba’s Singles Day is a display of Chinese spending power. The company’s owner, Jack Ma, is one of China’s richest men. He has been investing heavily in new technologies includingautomated stores which use facial recognition systems.
according to = … as said by
achieve = here: reach a number of sales
automated = where everything is done automatically, without people helping
although = while
bargain = to buy something cheaply, for less money than usual
billion = a thousand million
brand = type of product made by a company
celebrate = here: in honour of, to show respect for
celebrity = famous person
controversial = here: to cause a lot of disagreement
critic = a person who is against something
customer = a person who buys something
deliver = to bring to a person’s home
display = to show something
e-commerce = buying and selling things with computers over the Internet
electrical appliance = things you use at home and need electricity, like a cooker or washing machine
enormous = very large
environment = nature and the world around us
facial recognition = when a computer image of a person can find out who they are
handle = deal with
heavily = very much
household goods = things that you need in the house and use every day
in contrast = the difference between two things
including = also
increase = to go up
informal = not official
record = highest
sales = buying and selling products
seek – sought = look for
steadily = slowly
target = people who the event aims at; potential customers
transaction = here: the sales of a single product
upgrade = here: to give a computer more power, so that it can do more things
via = by way of, through
waste = unwanted things that you throw away and don’t need any more