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
Over the next few decades, Europe’s Muslim population is expected to continue growing. A studyestimates that by 2050 the Muslim population could grow to 58 million, or 11 % of the total European population, compared to 5 % today.
The study conducted by Pew research, is based on census and immigrationdata from 30 countries. It created three scenarios. In the first scenario, Muslim immigration into Europe would come to a complete halt. Even then, the Muslim population would rise to 7.4 %. This is because Muslims, on average, are 13 years younger than Europeans and have a higher birth rate.
On the other side, a high migration scenario is based on the flow of refugees from 2015- 2016 and expects it to continue. If this happens, the total Muslim population in Europe will rise to 75 million, about 14% of the total population.
According to the Pew report, not all countries will be affected evenly by future Muslim immigration. Germany and Sweden will see the biggest increases because these two countries accepted most asylum seekers during the 2015-2016 refugee crisis.
At the moment, Germany (5 million) and France (5.7 Million) have the largest Muslim populations in Europe.
The recently published study is likely to cause more debate on immigration into Europe. It citesinstability in the Middle East and Northern Africa as well as the ongoing conflict in Syria as the main factors that drive people to European countries. In the last 6 years seeking asylum in conflict regions was the most important motive for Muslims coming to Europe. Only few came to Europe for employment or education.
according to = as reported by …
affect = here: changed by the situation
asylum seeker = person who leaves their country because they are in danger, mostly for political reasons, and asks another country to let them live there
birthrate = the number of births for every 1,000 people in a year
census = official counting of a country’s population
cite = mention
compared = to look at two things in a similar way
conduct = carry out
data = information
debate = discussion
decade = ten years
employment = job, work
factor = reason
flow = steady movement of people
estimate = to calculate how big something will be based on the information that you have
halt = stop
immigration = when you go to another country and plan to live there permanently
increase = to go up
instability = when the situation in a country is not stable because of war or other conflicts
is based on = use something as the starting point for your research
is expected to = will probably
motive = reason
ongoing conflict = here: conflict or war that is continuing
refugee = people who have to leave their home because of war or a natural disaster
rise = go up
scenario = situation that could possibly happen
study = piece of work that is done to find out more about a subject
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
One hundred years ago, in 1917, the Russian Revolution ended the monarchy. Tsar Nicholas II had to step down and the Bolsheviks underVladimirLenin took control of the country. As a result, the Soviet Union evolved and became the biggest Communist country in the 20th century.
The centennial celebrations did not stir up a lot of publicity and Russian media did not report extensively on the topic. The Russian government under Vladimir Putin all but ignored the anniversary.
In contrast, thousands of Communist party members marched through downtown Moscow in honour of the Bolshevists, holding up flags of Lenin and Stalin.
During the Soviet era, November 7th was always a state holiday with military parades and a display of power on Red Square. It was stopped after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Public opinion on the Russian Revolution is divided . While most citizens have a positive view of Lenin’s role in history they are opposed to the events that took place under Joseph Stalin’s authoritarian regime. On the other side, many Russians are proud of having won World War II and of the country’s military and scientificachievements.
Lenin’s legacy collapsed in 1991. After years of chaos and a massivegap between the rich and poor, stability returned in the new millennium. While many cities and towns still honour Lenin in some way, others, like St. Petersburg, have returned to pre-revolutionary names.
achievement = something important or successful that you have done and can be proud of
anniversary = a day on which something special happened years ago
authoritarian regime = government that forces people to do what it wants and where the citizens cannot state their opinions
Bolsheviks = group of people who supported the communist party at the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917
centennial = day or year exactly 100 years after a special event
century = a hundred years
citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
collapse = break down; when something stops existing
divided = split
downtown = the centre of a city
evolve = grow
extensively = in detail, very much
gap = big difference
ignore = pay no attention to something
in honour = to show how much you admire or respect someone
legacy = here: what is left over from a certain period in history
massive = very large
millennium = the beginning of the next one thousand years
monarchy = country in which a king, queen or another person rules
oppose = to be against something
parade = here: public celebration where soldiers and weapons move down the streets for the people to see
pre-revolutionary = before the revolution
publicity = attention that something gets from newspapers or TV
public opinion = what the people on the streets think
Red Square = large open area in the centre of Moscow
Pope Francis has announced that the Vatican will ban the sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products in the Roman Catholic state beginning in January 2018. A spokesperson for the Vatican said that the mini-state cannot allow the sales of a product that is clearly damaging to a person’s health.
Vatican employees, diplomats and a few other fortunate ones who have a so-called “shopping card” are allowed to buy cigarettes, groceries and even gas in the duty-free stores of the small country. Some employees have been buying cartons of cigarettes and selling them cheaply on the streets of Rome.
The Vatican earns about $11 million a year through the sales of cigarettes. Tobacco products are the second-largest source of income after tax-free gas.
Italy, which has a 22% sales tax has been urging the Vatican to stop selling products tax-free. It is thought that about 5,000 employees, diplomats and other residents are in possession of such a card and can shop in the Vatican’s stores.
announce = to say something officially, in public
ban = forbid, not allow
damage = to do physical harm to someone
duty free = sell products without paying any taxes
earn = here: to get money for the products that you sell
employee = someone who is paid to work for someone else; worker
fortunate = lucky
groceries = food and other goods that are sold at a supermarket
in possession = to have something that is yours to keep
mini-state = very small country
sales = selling a product
spokesperson = someone who has been chosen to speak for a company, country or the government
source of income = the place from which the money comes that you earn
urge = to strongly suggest that someone should do something
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant religion. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther published his 95 theses, which criticized the Roman Catholic Church. As a result, the new religion broke away from the high church in Rome.
Luther nailed his list of criticismon the door of achurch inWittenberg, where hetaughttheology. He attacked the Church because it claimed that a sinner could reduce God’s punishment by giving money to the church. He also claimed that popes were too powerful and abused their power.
A few years later Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. However, because of the printing press, which was invented at that time, his messagespread across most of Europe. The Reformationcaused widespread change in Europe. It led to wars and people leaving their home country in pursuit of religious freedom.
In England, Henry VIII broke his ties with the Roman Catholic Church and, based on Luther’s theses, founded the Anglican Church. Over the centuries Protestants have created many different branches of their religion. Many Protestants are found in Scandinavia, Germany and the United States.
About 800 million Protestants live in the world today. Even though there are still many disagreements between Protestantism and Catholicism, both churches have overcome their differences. Their relationship has improved since the 16th century.
The anniversary was celebrated throughout the Protestant world. Most ceremonies took place in Germany, the cradle of Protestantism.
abuse = to use something in the wrong way
anniversary = date on which something important happened in the past
attack = to criticise something in a strong way
based on = here: to create a new church out of Protestant ideas
cause = lead to
century = a hundred years
ceremony = important event that is performed in a traditional way
claim = to say that something is true
cradle = here: where everything began
disagreement = when two or more people do not have the same opinion
even though = while, although
excommunicate = to punish someone by no longer allowing them to be a member of the Roman Catholic Church
found – founded = create something new
however = but
invent = to make or design something new
message = news
printing press = machine that prints newspapers, books etc.. in large numbers
publish = to make something official, for everyone to see
pursuit = follow
nail = to fasten something to an object
overcome = here: not to argue anymore
reduce = make something smaller or less
Reformation = religious changes in Europe in the 16th century that led to the creation of Protestantism
sinner = a person who does not obey or follow God’s laws
spread = to move from one place to another
theology = the study of religion and religious ideas
theses = an opinion about something, often in writing
widespread= something that happens in many places at the same time
The world’s wine production in 2017 is expected to be at its lowest since 1961. Grape harvests, especially in the major Europeanwine-producing countries, Spain, France and Italy , are low. Thanks to surplus production in the last few years there is enough wine available and there will be no shortages for consumers. However, wine experts say this could lead to an overall rise in wine prices.
Global wine production is expected to drop by 8% to 246 million hectoliters, which would be the lowest overall production since 1961. Italy and France have reported that their grape harvest will go down by 20 % each in 2017. Spanish production is expected to drop by 15 %. Nevertheless, the quality of the grapes is expected to be very good.
Countries that have had normal or larger grape harvests, like Australia, Argentina and South Africa will profit from the low European production and be able to sell bring more of their wine on world markets.
The United States, the world’s fourth largest wine producer, has witnessed wildfires in California, the country’s number one wine-growing state. But they have not done any significantdamage because the crops had already been harvested.
There are two main reasons for the poor harvest in Europe. Cold temperatures and frost in early spring damaged many vineyards. Dry summers and long heat waves have also lead to a drop in harvest figures. In some areas the decline in production means that small wine-producing families are facing financial problems and sometimes even bankruptcy.
available = something that can be bought
bankruptcy = if you are not able to pay the money that you owe to others
consumer = a person who buys products
damage = when somersetting is destroyed
decline = go down, drop
drop = go down
especially = above all
expected = thought to be
face = deal with a difficult situation
grape = small round green or purple fruits that are grown for wine
heat wave = period of time when it is very hot and does not rain
Estonia is a small Baltic state with a population of 1.3 million. Despite its size it is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and has been creating a digital society since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
In Estonia, citizens are allowed to do most things online. Every inhabitant has a uniqueID card that they use for a number of purposes.They can file tax returns, get medical prescriptions and manage their health records online. They can pay for a parking ticket via mobile phone and don’t have to go to a registration office when a child is born. Parents can check their children’s grades and communicate with teachers. For many years Estonians have been able to vote online.
In 2014 the small Baltic country started a new digital initiative. It allows non-citizens to become digital residents for 100 euros. The government wants to bring qualified people to the country because the working population is steadily decreasing. The country desperately needs new programmers, web developers and media experts. Up to now 20 000 people from other countries have applied for digital citizenship.
Many countries, among them Finland and Japan are trying to copy Estonia’s digital society. However, authoritiespoint out that the country’s smallness is an advantage. Such a system may not work very well in larger countries with millions of people.
advanced = very modern
advantage = here: something that helps you to be successful
apply = to make a request
authorities = the people who are in charge of a government organisation or department
Baltic = region in the northeastern part of Europe
citizen = person who lives in a country and has rights there
collapse = breakdown , end
create = make
decrease = go down
desperately = very much
despite = even though
file tax returns = here: to send information on how much you have earned to the local government; it then tells you how much tax you have to pay
government = the people who rule a country
health records = information about your health
however = but
ID card = small plastic card that has information about a person
inhabitant = a person who lives in a country
initiative = a new plan
point out = to show something that is important
population = the number of people living in a country
prescription = a piece of paper on which the doctor writes down what medicine a sick person should take
purpose = what something is needed for
qualified = with special skills and talents
registration office = place where you have report to when a baby is born or someone dies
resident = a person who officially lives in a country
society = people in general and the way they live and work together
size =how large the country is
smallness = not large in size
Soviet Union = largest Communist country that existed between 1922 and 1991
Researchers have found that 3 million dollars worth of gold lands in Switzerland’s sewage system every year. After taking a close look at Swiss waste-water treatment plants, they claim that over a hundred pounds of gold and 6,000 pounds of silver are washed away with waste. However, it would be too expensive to remove the gold from the wasted water.
Switzerland is a country that processes and refines gold on a large scale. About 70% of the world’s most precious metal passes through Switzerland in some way or other. Gold is used especially in the country’s watchmaking industry, which dominates the world market.
Other valuable metals pass through the country’ sewage system, but they do not pose an environmental threat.
Most of the refineries lie in the southern canton Ticino, only a short distance from the Italian border.
border = line between two countries
canton = province of Switzerland
claim = to say that something is true
dominate = to be number one
environmental threat = danger to the world around us
especially = above all
pose = cause a problem
precious = very valuable
on a large scale = here: large factories refine large amounts
refine = here: to make gold purer
remove = take something away
researcher = person who studies a subject in order to find out more about it
sewage system = a place where waste water from households is collected; the water is cleaned and returned into rivers or the sea
valuable = expensive
waste-water treatment plants = place where waste water from households is cleaned from unusable material
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