Authorities at Uluru National Park have announced that tourists will no longer be allowed to climb up to the top of Australia’s most famous landmark. The ban will take effect at the beginning of 2019. Officials say that Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is not an entertainment park, like Disneyland.
About 250 000 people visit the large red monolith in central Australia every year. However, only about 16% want to climb the rock.
Although Australia’s government wants to keep the site open for hikers to climb, the decision was made out of respect to the native Australians who consider Uluru as a sacred place. In 1985 the government returned it back to the aboriginalpeople of the region. For a long time , local residents have asked visitors not to climb the rock out of respect.
National park authorities are worried that hiking to the top of 1,100 ft high rock will damage the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour operators are now in search of other ways to show the monolith to its visitors, including camel rides around it.
Uluru National Park is open all year round, but climbing is only allowed on certain days because of strong winds and other weather conditions. Climbing the rock is not always safe. In the last 70 years , 35 people have died in climbing accidents.
Not all locals, however, are in favour of the ban. Some say that hiking should only be allowed with a guide and on special pathways.
Aboriginal people = people who have lived in Australia from the earliest times on
although = while
announce = to say officially
authorities = an official organisation that controls or is in charge of something
ban = order that stops something from being done
consider = think that…; look at something as …
damage = cause harm to something
entertainment park = area where you can go to in order to have fun, ride on roller coasters etc..
government = the people who rule a country
guide = person who shows you around a place
hiker = someone who walks long distances in the mountains
in favour of = to be for something
including = also
landmark = something that is easy to see , even from far away
local = a person who lives in the area
monolith = a large tall block of stone
native Australians = the people who have been in Australia before Europeans came
official = a person in an organisation who is in charge of something
pathway = track that is made for walking
resident = a person who lives in a place
sacred = holy , religious
take effect = put into effect, become a law
UNESCO World Heritage Site = place that has been selected by the United Nations because it is very valuable ; it should be protected by all countries
The government of Singapore has announced that it will ban further cars from its streets and roads starting in February 2018 . Authorities in the island state want to avoid the country from being clogged up in traffic as space is running out.
Singapore has already limited the number of new vehicles that are allowed to drive every year. It has also increasedregistration fees and import taxes on private vehicles. In Singapore it is four times more expensive to own a car in than elsewhere.
Singapore, which is even smaller than New York, is the most densely populated country in the world. 12 % of the land is taken up by roads. Since 2000, the population has risen by 40% to 5.6 million. Currently, there are 600 000 private cars in operation.
Citizens need a permit to own a car. They can get them at regular auctions that are held in the country. Fees for a ten-year permit cost at least $30,000 .
In addition to banning the registration of new cars, the government is spending 28 billion dollars on public transport projects in the next five years. It is expanding its rail network and has added new bus lines.
announce = to say officially, in public
auction = here: event where people who offer the most money can buy permits
authorities = people or organisations that are in charge of certain things in daily life
avoid = stop something from happening
ban = forbid
billion = a thousand million
citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
clog up = to become blocked
currently = at the moment
densely populated = many people live on a small area of land
elsewhere = in other countries
expand = to make bigger
fee = the money you pay for a service
government = the people who rule a country
in addition = also
increase = to become bigger or more
limit = to stop from becoming more and more
permit = document that allows you to do or have something
public transport = busses, trains, subways etc.. that everyone can use
registration fee = the money you pay for officially owning a car
run out = to become less and less
vehicle = machine or engine that is used to take people from one place to another, such as a car, bus or truck
In addition to finding any place on Earth, Google Maps now lets you navigate through space too. It has recently added two dwarf planets, Pluto and Ceres, as well as some of the moons of Venus, Saturn and Jupiter to its service.
Users can now explore the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon . You can see lakes and rivers of methane beneath its clouds . About half a million images come from the Cassini mission ,which explored Saturn and its moons for 15 years before it burned up in the planet’s atmosphere.
Other highlights includeclose-ups of Saturn’s sixth-largest moon Enceladus , where water was discovered beneath the surface. Jupiter’s moons Europa and Ganymede are also included in Google Map’s new version. A total of 16 planets and moons can now be explored by users.
Exploring space works like any place on Earth would. Just choose a planet or moon and zoom around. Google Map offers the most important physical features of each celestial body as well as corresponding names.
Google Maps started out as a service that let users navigate land . In the past, years the world’s oceans have been added to the map service and in 2014 Google added images of our moon and Mars. Since 2017 users can take a tour of the International Space Station. Most of the material comes from various explorations carried out by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).
atmosphere = mixture of gases that surrounds a planet
celestial = about the sky or heaven
close-up = film or picture in which the camera is very close to an object
corresponding names = names that are connected to the objects in the map
discover = to find something for the first time
dwarf planet = object in space that is too large for a moon and too small to be planet
explore = to travel around a place in order to find out more about it
offer = give to the user
in addition = also
include = to contain; have in it
methane = gas that you cannot see or smell; it can be burned to give heat
navigate = to find your way around from one place to another
physical features = the landscape with mountains, rivers etc..
recently = a short time ago
service = here: something that the company lets users do
The first commercial flight landed on the British island of St. Helena a few days ago. It was the first passenger flight ever to land on the remote island, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. St. Helena’s authorities hope that the new air service from Johannesburg, South Africa will help boost tourism on the island.
Up to now only a boat service every three weeks connected the island with the African continent. It took a ship about 6 days to travel from South Africa. The small island reliesheavily on British aid to survive. St. Helena’s tourism officials say that the new air link will bring 30,000 visitors to the island every year, compared to only 4,000 last year.
The airport cost almost £ 300 m and has been widely criticised as being the most useless airport in the world. Only smaller airplanes can fly to the island because strong winds to not allow large jet planes to take off and land.
Saint Helena is mostly known as the island to which French emperor Napoleon was banned and diedafter he had suffered a defeat at Waterloo. The British overseas territory is only 122 square kilometres large and lies 2000 km off the coast of Africa. It has a population of 4,200 .
Development on the island has been slow. It got its first mobile phone service in 2015 and the first luxury hotel on the island is opening soon. Wildlife and nature on and around the island is why tourists find there way to St. Helena. A Marine Protected Area was established there last year.
aid = financial help; money
air link = flights to and from a place
air service = company that arranges flights
authorities = the people who rule a place
ban = here: to bring someone to a faraway place so that he/she cannot escape
boost = improve; make better
coast = where land meets the sea
commercial = with passengers on board who pay for the flight
development = to increase business, trade and growth in a region
emperor = man who rules a group of countries
establish = create
heavily = very much; strongly
luxury hotel = very expensive hotel
Marine Protected Area = place in the ocean where animals and plants are protected
official = a person who is in a high position in an organisation
population = the number of people who live in an area
rely = depend on; need
remote = very far away
suffer a defeat = here: lose a battle in a war
survive = to continue to exist
useless = not needed
wildlife = animals and plants that grow under natural conditions
Easter Island , or Rapa Nui as the natives call themselves , belongs to the remotest places on earth. The Chilean island, famous for its carved statues, is located in the middle of the southern Pacific Ocean.
For decades, scientists have been wondering how the natives got to the island before the first Europeans came in 1722. Most experts think that the first settlers came to Easter Island at around 1200 A.D. , probably on small boats crisscrossing the Pacific Ocean.
Other anthropologists have been trying to find out if the natives have any connections to early South Americans, three thousand kilometres away. Latest research now claims that the Easter Islanders were, in fact, more isolated than previously thought.
Scientists have been examining the skeletons and bones of five people that go back hundreds of years. However, they have found no evidence that suggests they have might have ancestors in South America.
The first theory of South American ancestry came up when Thor Heyerdahl saw sweet potatoes when he arrived there in the 1950s. He also found people using fishing tools that South Americans also used. Scientists at that time thought the people of the Easter Islands may have sailed to South America and back again some time before the Europeans came.
ancestor = a member of your family who lived a long time ago
anthropologist = a person who studies people , their cultures and where they come from
carved = to cut an object with a knife
claim = to say that something is true even if you cannot prove it
Chilean = from Chile
crisscross = to travel many times back and forth without a certain pattern ; zigzag
decade = ten years
evidence = facts that clearly show that something is true or exists
examine = to look very closely at an object
however = but
isolated = here: to be alone and far away from others
located = can be found
native = a person who was born in a country or place
previously = earlier
remote = very far away from civilisation
research = the study of a subject in order to find out new facts
sail = the wind brings you somewhere on a boat
scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
settler = a person who goes to live in a place where not many people have lived before
sweet potato = a vegetable that looks like a red potato ,is yellow inside and tastes sweet
The government of Thailand has announced that smoking on tourist beaches will not be allowed any more. Those who do not obey the new law must pay a fine of up to $3850 or risk going to prison for a year.
The ban will affect 20 tourist beaches. Authorities in Thailand have been coping with the problem of cigarette butts being thrown away and polluting the country’s wonderful beaches.
Tourism officials say, however, that there will be places further inland where tourists will be allowed to smoke.
The ban was proclaimed after authorities collected over 140,000 cigarette butts on a 2.5 km long stretch of beach on Phuket Island – 30% of all the total waste found near the coast.
Tourism makes up about 10% of the Thailand’s income. About 35 million people visit the country’s beaches every year.
affect = here: where the new law is put into effect
announce = to say in public
authorities = organisation or government department that has the power to make decisions
ban = law that forbids something
cigarette butt = part of a cigarette that remains when someone has finished smoking
cope = deal with
income = the money a country gets for services and products
inland = farther away from the beaches
obey = follow, respect
official = person who is in a high position
pollute = to make dirty
prison = building where you keep people as a punishment because they have done something wrong
proclaim = to say officially that something exists
According to a new report, diesel cars have caused thousands of premature deaths in Europe in the past few years. These deaths could have been avoided if countries had met anti-pollution standards. The recently published paper comes almost two years after the Volkswagen scandal, in which the German car maker was caught cheating on emission tests.
Europe is a continent with about a hundred million diesel-driven vehicles, almost twice as many as in all the other countries of the world combined. Years ago governments and car makers encouraged consumers to buy diesel cars because they were cheaper, used less fuel and produced less carbon dioxide. Many governments also offered tax reductions if people bought diesel cars. What has not been known until now is that diesel cars produce more nitrogen oxides, which may cause lung diseases.
Italy, Germany and France were the countries that recorded the most premature deaths from diesel-polluted vehicles. Especially diesel trucks that drive in denselypopulated areas contribute to the high level of pollution.
The Volkswagen scandal also shown that emission tests are not accurate and that in some cases diesel vehicles emit up to 4 times more substances than they do when tested in a lab.
Since the scandal broke , governments in Europe and elsewhere have been trying to get people to buy more petrol-driven cars. They have become more efficient than diesel vehicles and the difference in prices are not not as high any more.
according to = as said by …
accurate = detailed; exact
anti-pollution standards = laws that are made to keep pollution levels in a country low
avoid = stop ; not happen
carbon dioxide = gas that is produced when animal or people breathe out or when carbon is burned in the air
cheat = here: to trick people and not tell them the truth
combined = together
contribute = to help make something happen
densely populated = when many people live in a small area
efficient = if something works well
emission test = testing how much gas or dirty substances are sent into the air
emit = send into the atmosphere
encourage = to say that people should do something
especially = above all
fuel = liquid used to produce energy and make a car drive
government = the people who rule a country
nitrogen oxide = combination of nitrogen and oxygen
paper = report
petrol-driven = run with normal petrol, not diesel
premature = something that happens before the natural time
record = write down information
substance = material
tax reduction = to pay less tax than you normally would
vehicle = machine with an engine that is used to transport people or products
The world’s longest railway tunnel, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, was opened after many years of construction. Trains can travel at speeds of up to 250 km an hour through the 57 km long tunnel. It took 17 years to complete and cost $12 billion. The engineeringmilestone will bring southern Germany and northern Italy closer together.
The new Gotthard Base Tunnel is also the world’s deepest tunnel, located 2300 metres below Swiss mountain peaks. A total of 2600 workers involved in building the tunnel had to excavate more than 28 million tonnes of rock.
Gottardinoshuttle trains will be running between the two endpoints of the tunnel and make a stop at Sedrun, a mountain station in the middle. 65 passenger and 240 freight trains are expected to travel through the tunnel every day. The Gotthard Base Tunnel will reduce the time it takes trains to pass through the Alps. A journey from Zurich to Milan, for example, will be reduced by an hour.
The new tunnel is part of a larger European transportation project that includes two other tunnels in the Alps. Ultimately, the EU plans a high-speed rail connection between its two majorharbours, Rotterdam and Genoa.
During the course of history the Alps have been a natural barrier to travel. In the past traders and merchants had to use mountain passes to travel from north to south. The first Gotthard rail tunnel opened in 1882, but as time went on it could not handle the growing traffic.
In the 1990s, Swiss citizens approved of a government plan to build a new tunnel. How hard such a construction feat would be soon became obvious . In places where there was hard rock boring was extremely slow. Workers could only advance only about half a metre every day.
The new tunnel is expected to reduce road traffic crossing the Alps as more and more lorries and cargo companies will put their freight on Swiss trains.
advance = move forward
approve = to agree with something or to say yes to a plan
barrier = a mountain, lake or any other natural object that stops people from going somewhere
boring = to make a hole in the mountain by using a special machine
cargo = goods carried by a train, ship, lorry, plane etc..
citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
course of history = as time went on
complete = finish
connection = joining or linking two places
construction = building
engineering = the building of roads, railways bridges etc..
excavate = remove earth
feat = something very difficult to do
freight = goods that are transported from one place to another
handle = deal with
harbour = place where ships load and load goods
high-speed = very fast
include = something as part of something else
involved = here: worked at the tunnel site
journey = trip
located = where something lies
lorry = truck ; large car that carries goods
major = very big and important
merchant = person who bought and sold things in the past
milestone = an important development in history
obvious = easy for everyone to see
peak = the top part of a mountain
reduce = lower
shuttle = train that travels regularly between two places
speed = how fast something is
Swiss = from Switzerland
ultimately = here: when the whole project is finished
London’s Heathrow Airport is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The airport opened commercial services in 1946. Today over 70 million people pass through Heathrow Airport every year. It services 180 destinations in 90 countries. Over 93% of all passengers are international travellers. In 2015, Heathrow was the world’s sixth largest airport.
Heathrow,originally named London airport, lies 14 miles (22 km) west of central London . Construction of a military airport began in 1944. By the time it was finished the war had ended and Heathrow was turned over to civil authorities. The first passenger plane flew to Buenos Aires. In its first year of operation, 60000 passengers travelled through Heathrow Airport.
As time went on Heathrow grew and grew. In the last 10 years the airport has invested billions of dollars in modernising facilities for travellers.
Last year Terminal 1 was closed to make way for a modernised Terminal 2, which was reopened in 2014. Currently, the airport has two runways but there are plans for the construction of a third runway for Europe’s busiest airport.
anniversary = day on which an important event happened years ago
celebrate = to show that a day in history is important by doing something special on it
civil authorities = organisation that belongs to the public, not the military
commercial service = here: people pay money for travelling to and from other places
construction = building something
currently = at the moment
destination = place to travel to
facility = place or building that you use for something special
invest = here: to spend money to make it better
operation = here: in use
originally = at first
reopen = open again after being closed for some time
runway = long flat piece of ground on which planes take off and land