Iceland has become the first country to make it illegal to pay women less than men. The new law, which took effect on January 1, imposes a fine on companies and government organisations employing more than 25 workers if they pay men more than women. The Scandinavian country wants to eliminate the pay gap between the sexes completely within the next four years.
Iceland has been considered the world’s fairest country in terms ofgender equality for the past nine years. In a country where half of the parliamentarians are female, women still earn about 15% less than men. The new Icelandic law aims at helping to change the attitude towards women in business and politics.
According to the World Economic Forum, a Swiss-basednon-profit organisation, there is a global 58 % difference in pay between the sexes. Economic experts predict that, if the current trend continues, women will have to wait over two hundred years to get equal pay and the same opportunities at work.
There is also a lack of female politicians. Only a quarter of the world’s politicians is female and fewer than one in five ministers are women. Only 23% of the world’s parliamentary seats go to females.
according to = as reported by …
aims at = wants to achieve something
attitude = the feelings you have about someone or something
considered = thought to be
current trend = if the situation of today goes on
eliminate = get rid of; do away with
employ = to give a person work
equal = the same
gender equality = the same chances and opportunities for men and women
global = worldwide
illegal = against the law
impose = to force people to accept something
in terms of = if you look at or observe closely
lack = not enough
law = rule or regulation that a country has
non-profit = to use the money you get to help other people
opportunities = chances
parliamentarian = member of parliament
pay gap = the difference in the amount of money men and women get for their work
predict = to say that something will happen in the future
quarter = 25%
seat = here: an elected member of parliament
Swiss-based = organisation that operates out of Switzerland
After the end of World War II, as many as 9,000 high-ranking Nazi officersescapedpunishment in Germany and fledabroad, most of them to South America. Over 5,000 started a new life in Argentina, the rest were scattered across Brazil, Paraguay and other countries.
At the beginning of World War II, Argentina already had a large German community. President Juan Peron sympathized with the Third Reich and helped set up routes in Spain and Italy, through which Nazi officers escaped. He also gave them false passports and new identities.
With the help of the Vatican and relief organisations like the Red Cross, more and more Nazis poured into South America, building a network of contacts that made it easier for the rest of them to flee. In the decades after the war, some were tracked down and brought back to Germany, however many Nazis escaped justice.
One of the most famous Nazis who found his way to South America was Adolph Eichmann. He was an SS officer in charge of Hitler’s final solution – sending millions of Jews to death camps all across Europe. He lived in Buenos Aires until 1960 when a team of Israeli intelligence officerscaptured him and got him out of the country. After his trial in Jerusalem, he was hanged in 1962.
Another famous Nazi was Joseph Mengele, a doctor who conducted medical experiments at the Auschwitz death camp, where he often used prisoners as guinea pigs. He spent several years in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay where he died in 1979.
abroad = to a country across the ocean; here: North or South America
capture = to catch a person and keep them as prisoner
community = people who live together in the same area
conduct = carry out
death camp = place where a large number of prisoners are killed or die
decade = ten years
escape = get away from a bad or dangerous situation; leave a place because it is dangerous
false passport = here: a passport that is not real, with a made-up identity
flee – fled = escape; get away from a bad situation
guinea pig = someone who is used in a test or experiment to see how successful something new is
high-ranking = in a high position in an organisation
hang – hanged = to kill someone with a rope around their neck
however = but
identity = name
in charge of = responsible for
intelligence officer = person of a foreign government who tries to collect secret information in other countries
justice = system by which criminals are punished
network = system
officer = someone who has power in the military or police department
pour into = come in large numbers
prisoner = someone who is kept in prison for a crime they may have committed
punishment = to make somebody suffer because they have done something that is against the law
relief organization = organization that helps people who are in danger
scattered = spread over a large area of land
sympathize = here: like, support, help
Third Reich = period of Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler
track down = to find someone who has been hiding
trial = legal process in which a judge and a jury in a courtroom decide if a person is guilty or not
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
Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Christ was sold for $450 million at an art auction at Christie’s in New York. It was more than double the price of any art object ever sold.
The painting, Salvator Mundi, is one of the raremasterpieces of the Renaissance painter. Created at around 1500 it is one of 20 da Vinci paintings still in private possession.
Salvator Mundi was once owned by King Charles I of England in the middle of the 17th century. The painting was believed to have been destroyed until it resurfaced in 1900. In England, it was sold for a mere $125 because art experts at the time thought it was a worthless copy, either done by one of da Vinci’s followers or students. Even today, the painting’s authenticity is still in doubt.
After being restored several times, a Russian billionaire bought the painting in 2013. The new owner intends to remain anonymous.
The oil painting shows the upper body of Jesus Christ as the world’s saviour. In one hand he holds a glass sphere in, while the other hand is raised in blessing.
Currently, there is only one da Vinci in the United States. Ginevra de’ Benci can be observedin public at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
anonymous = not known by name
auction = a public meeting where paintings and other things are sold to the person who offers the most money
authenticity = the quality of being real or true
billionaire = person who has one thousand million dollars, euros etc..
in blessing = with the help or protection from God
century = a hundred years
Christie’s = famous auction house in New York
currently = now, at the moment
destroy = to damage completely so that you no longer can use it
in doubt = here: it may not be real
in public = where everyone can see it
intend = want to be
masterpiece = a work of art that is of very high quality or the best of a famous artist
mere = only
observe = see something
own = possess; if something belongs to you
possession = something that belongs to you
raise = hold up
rare = not found very often
Renaissance = period of time in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries, when art, literature and scientific ideas became very important
restore = repair, so that it appears like it once was
resurface = to appear again after being lost or missing for some time
saviour = a person who saves someone in a dangerous situation – here: Jesus Christ
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
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
Winds and storms in the Atlantic are so strong that wind-powered turbines in the Atlantic Ocean could provide the whole world with clean energy. Energy experts now claim that ocean wind farms can produce three to five times more energy than wind turbines on land. Over water wind speeds are up to 70% higher.
Winds on land create friction because of mountains and buildings. They slow down as they move inwards . In addition, turbines are built closer together, which takes some of the wind speed away .
Winds are especially strong across the northern Atlantic Ocean because of differences in water temperature. When the warm Gulf Stream moves up the North Americancoast it mixes with cold water in the northern Atlantic. This leads to higher storm activity and more winds, especially during the winter months.
Norway’s energy company Statoil has been operating floating wind turbines in the shallow North Sea for over a decade. These are connected via cable to the ocean floor. In order to make them work in the deep sea , however, they must be attached to vertical poles that have massiveweights in the water.
One of the biggest problems that face ocean wind farms is transporting energy from the deep sea to land. Energy companies , like Statoil, are looking for high-wind areas that are closer to shore.
While wind farms on land are becoming more and more common, production costs of running them are becoming lower. In the near future wind energy is expected to become one of the cheapest alternative energy sources .
Europe is the number one wind energy producer at the moment. Every year, about 12 gigawatts of energy are produced by wind power, whereas in America green energy from wind is still in its infancy. If produced more effectively, the solution to the world’s energy problems may lie in ocean wind farms.
alternative energy source = energy that does not come from fossil fuels, like, coal, oil or gas
attach = fix, connect to something
claim = to say that something is true even if you cannot prove it
coast = where land meets the sea
common = widespread, popular
connect = fix or tie to something
decade = ten years
deep sea = far away from land
Gulf Stream = warm water that flows to Europe from the Gulf of Mexico
effectively = here: to produce more with less money
especially = above all
face = deal with, manage
float = to move on water without sinking
friction = when something rubs against a surface
gigawatt = one thousand million watts
in addition = also
infancy = at the beginning
inward = here: away from the sea
massive = very big
provide = give
shallow = not deep
shore = land near the coast
speed = how fast something is
turbine = energy or motor in which pressure pushes a wheel around