California has become the largest American state to legalize the sales of marijuana for recreational use. In November 2016, citizens in the state voted in favour of a proposition that would allow citizens to possesssmall amounts of the substance. It is now legal to grow six plants of your own or have an ounce of pot.
About 90 licences are to be handed outstatewideto shops that want to sell recreational marijuana. In the last two decades, special shops have been allowed to sell marijuana only for medical reasons, in order to treat pain and anxiety. People who want to buy medical marijuana need a prescription from a doctor.
Apart from legalizing the drug, there will be strict controls monitored by state authorities. Californians will not be allowed to consume marijuana in public places or near schools. Local governments will be able to set up their own rules on where smoking is allowed.
Despite this new state law, the federal government still looks at marijuana as an illegal substance. California has become the eighth state to legalize the drug.
In 2016 California produced about 13 million pounds of pot. 80% of it was transferred illegally out of the state.The illegal marijuana market, currently at 5 billion dollars, is expected to grow to 7 billion in California by 2020. In addition, the state will be able to generateadditional taxes from selling legal marijuana.
Shopkeepers who have been able to sell medical marijuana are worried that prices will go up because of additional taxes. Some fear that additional licences could ruin their business.
additional = extra
anxiety = feeling worried about or afraid of something
apart from = besides
authorities = organisation that can make decisions
billion = a thousand million
citizen = person who lives in a place and has rights there
consume = here: smoke
currently = at the moment
decade = ten years
despite = even though
federal government = the government of the United States, not the state government
generate = produce, get
government = people who rule a country or state
hand out = give to someone
illegal substance = drug that is not allowed
in addition = also
in favour of = to be for something
legal = allowed
legalize = allow
licence = here: a document that allows you to sell something
marijuana = illegal drug that is smoked like a cigarette
monitor = to watch carefully
ounce = unit for measuring weight = 28.35 grams
pain = feeling you have when something hurts
possess = own, have
pot = another word for marijuana
prescription = piece of paper on which a doctor writes down what medicine you need
According to a new publication by Amercian neurologists, regular exercise can improve your memory and thinking skills. We know that exercise has proven to be good for your heart and overall fitness, but now doctors say that it can actually help you remember things.
As we get older most of us have problems with memory, language and thinking about certain things. This is called mild cognitive impairment (MCI) .In mostcases, such problems don’t influenceour everyday life but we realize them. Exercising may slowdownthe rate of MCI and reduce the risk of getting dementia at a later phase in life.
Unlike people with dementia, those with mild cognitive impairment can cope with their regular routine, like getting dressed or preparing meals. However, they may have trouble remembering dates, appointments and where they left their keys. This may be the first step to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
While there is no medicine and dietary way to fight against memory loss, neurologists encourage people to do some form of aerobic exercise, like walking, running or cycling or swimming for a total of 2 .5 hours a week. They recommend exercising just so fast that you don’t sweat and can talk to others.
More than 6% of all people around the world have a mild form of cognitive impairment. As people get older the rate increases and jumps to 37% of all over 85 year olds.
according to = as said by …
aerobic exercise = activity that makes your lungs and heart stronger
Alzheimer’s disease = disease that affects the brain, especially of old people; it is difficult to move, talk and remember things
appointment = meeting you have with someone
cope = deal with
dementia = illness that affects the brain and memory; you slowly lose the ability to think clearly and remember things
dietary = about the food you eat
encourage = say that you should do something because it is good for you
exercise = do physical activity
however = but
improve = to make a situation better
increase = go up
influence = change
memory = the ability to remember things, places and events
memory loss = losing your memory
publication = when information is printed so that everyone can read it
neurologist = person who studies the brain and our nervous system and the diseases connected to them
overall = general
rate = how fast something grows
realize = know that something is there or exists
recommend = suggest
reduce = make lower
regularly = often; at the same time every day or week
skill = things we can do because we have practised them
slow down =make slower
sweat = to do something so fast that you have drops of salty liquid coming out of your skin
For the second year in a row life expectancy in the United States has decreased. One of the main reasons is the rise in opioid-related deaths, especially with young adults.
Life expectancy in 2016 was 78.6 years, compared with 78.4 years two years earlier. It is the first two-year decline in over 50 years. While life expectancy in other parts of the world is going up, the average American is dying at an earlier age.
According to a recently published report, overdoses of painkillers and other opioids are causing more and more premature deaths. The figures have risen from 6.1 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 21 per 100,000 people in 2016.
Last year 63 000 people died from some form of drug overdose. While 15000 of them were heroinaddicts an alarming 14000 died from other painkillers. Most of them were in the 28-54 year age group.
In many cases, drug abuse is caused by a general dissatisfaction with a person’s personal situation. This results indepression and hopelessness if addicts don’t have a family to support them. Such victims don’t have the stability that they need. As a consequence, they turn to alcohol and drugs.
Opioids are drugs that reducepain by targeting pain receptors in the brain. You need a doctor’s prescription to get them, but more and more people are buying them illegally on the streets.
While many start out with painkilling drugs, they later turn to heroin, also an opioid. In the terminal stages of cancer, morphine is often used to reduce a patient’s pain.
abuse = using something in a way that you shouldn’t
according to = as reported by …
addict = someone who is not able to stop taking drugs
as a consequence = this results in; it leads to
average = normal
brain = organ in your head that control your thoughts, feelings and movements
cancer = very serious illness in which cells in your body grow in an uncontrollable way
compared with= to look at two things and see how they are different
decline = when something goes down
decrease = to go down
depression = a medical condition in which you are unhappy with yourself and cannot lead a normal life
dissatisfaction = here: not being happy with yourself
especially = above all
heroin = powerful and illegal drug made of morphine
illegally = not allowed; against the law
life expectancy = the number of years a person is expected to live
morphine = powerful drug that is used to make people calmer and stop the pain
opioid = a drug that acts on the nervous system to reduce pain
overdose = to take too much of a drug at one time
pain = the feeling you have when part of your body hurts
painkiller = medicine which removes or reduces pain
premature = when something happens before the natural time
prescription = piece of paper that a doctor writes so that an ill person can get medicine
recently = a short time ago
receptor = a nerve ending that gets information and causes the body to react in a special way
reduce = lower
result in = lead to, be the reason for somehting
stability = here: strength
target = attack
terminal stages = the last days, weeks or months before a person dies of an illness
California’s Department of Health has published new guidelines on how to handle cell phones. It warns that radiationemitted from cell phones can be harmful but does not say that cell phones are dangerous.
.Health authorities in California suggest a few measures cell phone users should take. When sleeping, you should keep your phone at least an arm’s length away from your body. You should also avoid keeping your cell phone in your pocket. They also recommend only using cell phones when reception is strong.
Some doctors agree that carrying cell phones close to your body could increase the risk of getting brain tumours , cancer and becoming infertile. It may also lead to headaches, hearing problems and a lossof memory. On the other side, there are many health experts who say that the risks cell phone usage present are not proven
Cell phones emitradiation in the form of low-energy radio waves when they receive and send signals from cell towers. The frequencies that cell phones use could be linked to various illnesses.
The new cell phone guidelines have existed since 2009 but not been published. Recently, a Berkeley professor won a lawsuit against the Department of Health to release the guidelines to the public and push for more action.
authorities = government organisation that can make decisions
avoid = stop; not do something
brain tumour = illness in your brain in which cells increase in an uncontrolled way
cancer = serious disease in which cells in one part of your body start to grow in a way that is not normal
cell tower = high object that sends out and receives cell phone signals
Department of Health = authorities that are responsible for health programs and health information that is given to the public
emit = release, send out
guidelines = instructions on how people should do something or deal with something
handle = use
increase = go up
infertile = if you are not able to have babies
lawsuit = a problem that is settled by a judge in court
loss of memory = when you start forgetting things
public = the people in general
publish = to release official information to all people
radiation = form of energy that is sent out as waves that you cannot see
receive = pick up, get
recently = a short time ago
reception = the quality of the signal you get for your cell phone
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
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
Entertainment giant Disney has announced that it intends to start its own streaming service in 2019. Subscription prices will be much lower than those of Netflix and other competitors but the new service will not be able to compete with Netflix as far as quantity goes.
In addition to showing films like Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2, Disney is also planning the production of a new Star Wars trilogy, a Star Wars TV series and several Marvel movies. The company is also working on TV adaptations of Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.
Disney will also launch a new ESPN streaming service next year. It will feature many sports events including Major League Baseball, soccer and others.
Netflix has been streaming Disney and Pixar content for several years. Now Disney wants to pull their own content from Netflix’s services. A surveyconducted shortly after the announcement of the new streaming platform showed that two out of 10 Netflix subscribers were willing to switch to Disney.
The world’s largest streaming service has announced that it will spend up to $7 billion on their own productions in 2018. They hope that focusing on original content will make viewers stay on board.
Consumers will have a tough time choosing which service offers the best content. In some cases, they may have to have several accounts in order to watch all their favourite shows and films.
account = here: an agreement that lets you use a service; you have to have a username and password to log in
announce = to say officially, in public
billion = a thousand million
competitor = here: a business that does the same thing and wants to have more success
conduct = carry out
consumer = person who buys something or uses a service and pays for it
content = films and TV shows
focus on = concentrate on; give special attention to
in addition = also
intend = plan; if you want to do something
original content = the films and TV series they produce themselves, not the ones they buy from other companies
quantity = here: the number of TVs shows and films that people can watch
streaming service = a service that shows TV shows and movies on the Internet whenever you want to see them, not when they are broadcast on a TV channel
subscription = here: the money you pay every month in order to watch a streaming service
survey = a set of questions you ask a number of people in order to find out what they want
The American government has released over 3000 documents relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. President Trump, however, has ordered some of the documents with sensitive information to be held back for 6 months after a request from the CIA and FBI. In 1992 President George Bush signed a law that required all documents about the JFK murder to be released within 25 years.
The published documents have not provided any sensational new information on the JFK assassination. The public had hoped that the released documents would bring more light into the former president’s murder. Experts say that the decision to withhold some of the documents suggests that the government wants to keep some things secret.
Many of the documents are incomplete and some are only memos. The files show how disorganised government agencies were during the 1960s and how they dealt with the assassination.
In a series of memos, the FBI reports on Lee Harvey Oswald’s visit to Mexico City, where he met with a Soviet agent shortly before the Kennedy was killed. The material shows that authorities were trying to find out if a foreign government – Cuba or possibly the Soviet Union – was behind Kennedy’s death.
There is still no evidence that there was a conspiracy to kill the president. Nothing suggests that Lee Harvey Oswald worked with a partner. There are, however, FBI documents that warned the Dallas police about a threat against Oswald. Kennedy’s killer was shot dead at the Dallas Police Department two days after the Kennedy assassination.
Among the documents are reports that are only indirectly related to the Kennedy killing, for example CIA plans to murder Cuba’s Fidel Castro .
agency = organisation or department in the government
agent = person who works for another government
assassination = the murder of an important person
authorities = organisation or department in the government
conspiracy = a secret plan made by two or more people to do something that is against the law
deal with = handle
decision = to do something after you have thought about it
disorganised = without a plan or system
evidence = proof that something happened
files = documents
foreign = from another country
former = earlier, in the past
government = the people who rule a country
incomplete = not having everything that should be there
provide = to give; make available
public = ordinary people in a country
publish = to make public
relating to = about
release = to make public for everyone to see
request = a formal demand for something
require = here: the law says you have to do something
secret = not for everybody to know
sensitive = something that you have to deal with carefully
series = a few
sign = to put your name on a document
Soviet Union = largest Communist country that existed between 1917 and 1991
threat = when someone says that they want to harm or trouble you
The next Olympic Games have been awarded to Paris and Los Angeles. Both cities will host the games for the third time. 2024 will mark the 100th anniversary of the second Paris Olympics. The city had already organised the summer games of 1900. The 2028 Olympics will be held in Los Angeles for the third time, after 1932 and 1984. It is the first time that the International Olympic Committee has named host cities for two summer games at once. Los Angeles originally wanted the 2024 games but agreed to hosting them 4 years later.
The IOC presented the new hosts at a time when the organisation is troubled by corruption and accusations that some members took bribes to vote for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The 2024 Paris Summer Olympics are expected to provide jobs and growth to the city. According to city officials, the games will generate 11 billion dollars in income and create jobs for 250 000 people in the next seven years. Although Paris already has many venues ready for the games, several new ones will be built. The city wants to attract visitors not only with the best sports stadiums but also with its unique cultural and historical sites.
Los Angeles organizers have also said they want to use many existing structures built in the 1980s in order to make the games as cost-efficient as possible.
After recent terrorist attacks in Paris, London, Barcelona and other major cities , security is expected to be the main factor for both events.
Today, not very many cities are keen on organising major sports events. On one side bidding costs millions of dollars and on the other side holding the games themselves costs local authorities and governments billions.
according to = as said by …
accusation = statement that says someone has done something wrong or against the law
agree = to say yes to something
although = while
award = give to someone
anniversary = date or year in which something important took place
bidding = here: to offer to organize an event
bribe = to give someone money illegally and you expect them to do something for you in return
cost-efficient = here: to save money by using buildings or infrastructure that already exist
generate = produce , create
growth = businesses and the economy grow in a certain region
host = here: city that holds a special event
income = the money you get for the work you do
keen on = happy to do something
local authorities = here: the people who are in charge of ruling a town or city
main factor = most important thing
major = very important; large
mark = celebrate an important event
official = person in an important position in a country
security = safety
several = many
site = interesting place
structure = building
troubled = worried; having many problems
unique = unusually special; very good
venue = here:place where a sports event takes place
Barack Obama has become the first American president to visit Hiroshima. During his recent visit to Japan he visited the city which was destroyed by the first atomic bomb.
Together with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama laid a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. In an emotional speech, Obama did not apologize to the Japanese people, but called the dropping of the first atomic bomb the biggest crime in human history. The American president demanded a world without nuclear weapons. The United States would also continue to stand by Japan, which turned from an enemy into an important ally in Asia. After the ceremony, Obama signed the guest book and spoke with survivors.
About 140,000 people were killed on August 6, 1945 when in the first atomic bomb exploded over the city. An additional 70000 died when the second bomb was dropped over Nagasaki. Nine days later Japan surrendered and World War II ended. Tens of thousands died from radiation illnesses in the decades that followed.
Obama did not mention the 20 000 Korean victims, who were forced to work for the Japanese in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing.
Although visiting Hiroshima has been a very sensitive issue for past American presidents, polls revealed that most Japanese wanted Obama to visit the city.
additional = extra
ally = a friendly country that you help
although = while
apologize = to say you are sorry for what happened
continue = keep on
crime = an action that is against the law
decade = period of ten years
demand = want, wish for
destroy = to damage completely, so that nothing is left
emotional = with strong feelings
force = make someone do something
lay a wreath = put down a circle of flowers at a place where people have died
memorial = an object or building that has been built to honor a person or a famous event
mention = talk about
nuclear weapon = a bomb that releases energy by splitting atoms; it can kill thousands of people and destroy whole cities
poll = a study in which people are asked about their opinion on a certain topic
radiation illness = here : people who became sick because of the dangerous energy that came from the bombs
recent = a short time ago
reveal = show
sensitive issue = here: something that you have to deal with carefully, so that you do not make others angry
sign = put your name on a document
stand by = support, help when it is needed
surrender = give up
survivor = person who managed to live on after the bombing