The world’s longest pedestrian bridge opened on Sunday in Arouca, in northern Portugal. The suspension bridgespans 516 meters across a canyon of the Paiva river. It hangs on steel cables connected to two massive towers. Tourists who walk on the bridge can watch the fast-moving river over 170 meters below them.
The mayor of Arouca hopes the new bridge will be an additional attraction to the Arouca Geopark, a region where tourists experience all kinds of outdoor adventures, including hiking , rafting, biking and other activities.
The bridge cost 2.3 million euros and was completed in 2 years. The previous record for the longest pedestrian suspension bridge was held by Randa in the Swiss Alps.
additional = extra
canyon = deep valley with very steep sides that has a river running at the bottom
completed = finished
experience = here: something great that happens to you
hiking = taking walks in the mountains
massive = very large and heavy
mayor = person who is the head of a city
pedestrian= someone who is walking
previous = earlier, up to now
rafting = travelling in a raft on a fast-moving river
span = distance from one side to the other
steel = very strong metal
suspension bridge = bridge that hangs from heavy steel ropes that are connected to towers
The population in the United States has grown to 331 million, an increase of about 7%, over the past decade. However, it is the slowest growth rate since the Great Depression between the two world wars.
The census, taken every ten years, has an impact on the Electoral College, and, as a result, the outcome of the presidential election.
The 2020 census shows that Texas is the big winner with the largest growth rate. 29 million people live in the state, whose population increased by 16% since the 2010 count. The southern state gained 2 seats in the Electoral College. One reason for the change may be the fact that more and more high-tech companies are leaving Silicon Valley and setting up headquarters in Texas.
For the first time in history, California’s population has actually decreased. Falling birth rates and more Californians leaving the state for other destinations have led to a loss of one electoral college seat.
According to the census, more and more Americans are leaving the northeastern US and the Midwest and heading towards in the sun-belt states of the south. Apart from Texas, Florida is another winner and has gained one seat.
The results of the census could increase Republican chances of winning back the White House in 2024, as typically Democratic states like California and New York have lost Electoral College seats while Republican strongholds have gained a few.
according to = as reported by …
birth rate = the number of people born for every 1,000 people in a certain place every year
census = the act of counting the number of people in a country
count = here: counting of the population
decade = ten years
decrease = to go down
destination = place to go to
Electoral College = group of people chosen by each state, who come together to elect the President of the United States
gain = get, receive
Great Depression = time after the Wall Street crash of 1929 in which banks and companies closed, and many people were out of work
growth rate = the speed at which something gets bigger
heading towards = moving in a certain direction
headquarters = the main building or offices that a company has
however = but
impact = influence
increase = to go up
loss = to lose something
outcome = results
population = the people who live in a country or state
Silicon Valley = area around San Francisco which is known as the center of the computer and high-tech industry
stronghold = area where you have a lot of support and many voters
35 years ago, the worst nuclear disaster in history happened at the power plant at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union. A failed safety test caused the nuclear reactor in Block 4 to become unstable. As a result a chain reaction caused the core to explode. Fire spread out over the entire compound. Two people were killed in the explosion, over 30 workers officially died of radiation sickness. It is not known how many people died in the months and years that followed.
The Soviet authorities hid the truth about the explosion and did not warn other countries. A nuclear cloud spread across Europe for more than a week. Almost half a million people had to leave their homes.
The accident led to a worldwide debate on the safety of nuclear energy. It may have also been one of the causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years later.
After the clean-up the remaining reactors at Chernobyl continued to produce electricity for some years before the whole power station was shut down by Ukrainian authorities in 2000. A sarcophagus was built around Block 4 to prevent radioactivity from escaping. In 2017 a new steel structure was built to ensure more safety. The whole site is expected to be completely decommissioned by 2065.
Today, the area is still affected by radiation. Even though there is a 30 km exclusion zone a special kind of tourism has emerged. People from all over the world are coming to see the remains of the catastrophe and observe the wildlife in the region. The Ukrainian government is planning to use the area as a site for nuclear waste.
affected = here: there is still dangerous radiation
authorities = the people who are in control of a certain part of a region
caused = led to
causes = reasons
chain reaction = event that produces more and more energy in an uncontrolled way
collapse = breakdown; if something does not exist anymore
compound = a set of buildings
core = the central part of a nuclear reactor
decommission = to stop using the power plant and tear it down
disaster = a sudden event that causes a lot of damage and kills people
emerge = come up, appear
entire = whole
exclusion zone = area that people are not allowed to enter because it is dangerous
failed = something that did not work
former = earlier, once
government = the people who rule a country
nuclear energy = the energy you create when you split atoms
nuclear waste = leftover material from nuclear reactors
officially = as said by the government
power plant = one or more buildings that produce electricity
prevent = stop
radiation sickness = illness that is caused when your body gets too much radiation
radioactivity = the sending out of radiation when an atom is split
remains = what is left
sarcophagus = here: a structure that is put over the reactor so that dangerous radiation cannot escape
shut down = to close something
Soviet Union = the largest communist country that existed between 1917 and 1991
spread = travel, move across
unstable = something that may suddenly change and become worse
The 93rd Academy Awards were different from events of the past. Due to the coronavirus pandemic it was delayed for two months. Instead of its normal venue, the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, the awards took place at the city’s Union Station. Some nominees were there in person, others took part via video screen. There was no host and no audience.
The big winner of the evening was Nomadland, the story of a woman who lives in a van in the western US after the financial crash. Apart from winning the prize for the Best Movie, Nomadland’s director, China-born Chloe Zhao became only the second woman in history to win the prize for Best Director. Frances McDormand was awarded the Oscar for the Best Actress.
The biggest surprise of the evening came for British actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, who received the Oscar for Best Actor. In The Father, Hopkins plays a man suffering from dementia. He has become the oldest actor ever to win an Oscar, his second after Silence of the Lambs 29 years ago.
Another British actor, Daniel Kaluuya got an Oscar in the category Best Supporting Actor for his role as a Black Panther leader in Judas and the Black Messiah.
audience = people who watch at an event
Black Panther = group of African Americans in the 1960s and 70s who supported the use of violence in order to get better treatment
delay = when something happens later, not when it should
dementia = illness that affects the brain; you are not able to think clearly and forget a lot of things
director = someone who gives actors and other people instructions when making a film
due to = because of
financial crash = when money loses its value and people can’t buy things anymore
nominee = person who has been suggested for a prize
pandemic = a disease that affects many people all over the world
van = a large, box-like car that carries people or goods
The first controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet has successfully taken place. The Mars drone Ingenuity lifted off and hovered about 1 meter above the Martian surface for 40 seconds. Because of the distance between the Earth and Mars flight controllers had to wait for three hours to find out if the experiment was successful.
The drone was brought to Mars strapped under NASA’s Perseverance rover. It was positioned 65 meters away from the rover, which took pictures and recorded videos of the flight.
Because the atmosphere on Mars is thin and there is less gravity compared to Earth, Ingenuity’s rotor blades must rotate much faster to lift the craft. In addition, the drone has an on-board navigation system and software which allows it to fly on its own.
The 1.8 kg heavy drone has two cameras on board, as well as solar-powered batteries. NASA intends to use drones on future missions to Mars to find the right landing places and gather data.
During the next few weeks NASA is planning several test flights of the Ingenuity drone.
aircraft= a machine or object that can fly
atmosphere = mixture of gases around a planet
craft = here: drone
drone = an aircraft that does not have a pilot and is operated from somewhere else
gather data = collect information
gravity = the power that makes something fall to the ground
hover = float
in addition = also
Martian = about Mars
mission = trip, journey
position = to put in a certain place
rotate = to move around an object’s center
rotor blades = the flat parts that turn around at the top of a helicopter
rover = special car that is used to move on other planets
several = a few
solar = by the sun
strap = to use a band to fasten something to an object
The Vespa, one of the most iconic motorcycles in history, is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Since the first motorbike left the northern Italian production site in Pontedera, Italy over 19million scooters have been sold, almost 2 million in the past decade alone.
Over the years, the Vespa has become a symbol of freedom and culture for millions of people. Sold in 83 countries on all continents, it is a global brand that represents Italian technology.
For its 75th birthday Vespa has announced the production of a special anniversary series.
anniversary = birthday
announce = to officially say something
decade = ten years
global brand = an object that people know all over the world
For the first time in history scientists have made a major breakthrough in malaria treatment. In a lab in Burkina Faso scientists from Oxford University have created a vaccine that is 77% effective in treating the deadly disease. Up to now researchers have only been able to come up with a vaccine that is about 50% effective.
The experimental vaccine, given to 450 small children, showed promising results. Now scientists plan to treat 5000 children with the new drug in the last phase of the trial. If all goes well, millions of doses of the vaccine will be produced in India.
Malaria is one of the deadliest diseases on our planet. Over 200 million people suffer from the illness that is transmitted to people by mosquitos in tropical regions. It kills over 400,000 people each year, mostly children in Africa. According to the World Health Organization, malaria has turned out to be even deadlier than COVID-19 in Africa.
A malaria vaccine is very difficult to develop because its structure, compared to the coronavirus, is very complicated.
according to = as said by …
breakthrough = an important new discovery that you work on for a long time
develop = create or make something new
effective = when something works the way it should
experimental = used as an experiment
promising = here: hopeful, very good
researcher = someone who studies a topic and tries to find out new facts about it
scientist = a person who is trained in science and often works in a lab
transmit = to pass on to a person or animal
treatment = something that is done to cure someone who is ill
trial = test to find out if something works or not
vaccine = liquid that has a weak form of a virus and can protect people from becoming ill
Recent studies and satellite data has shown that the Earth’s axis is moving faster, due to climate change and global warming. The axis of our planet is a straight line that goes through the poles. It is not in a fixed position but normally moves slowly due to movements inside the Earth. Scientists do not completely understand how this happens.
New information now shows that the movements of the poles are going on much faster than in previous decades, mainly because of the melting of glaciers and large ice masses. This has led to more water on the surface, which pulls at the poles. The North Pole, for example, is moving slowly towards Russia. Since 1980 the poles have wandered about 4 meters.
In addition, farming has led to more and more groundwater around the world being pumped up from below. This water ends up in rivers and finally in oceans, also contributing to a change in the weight of ocean water.
Scientists say that the change in the Earth’s poles is not enough to affect our daily life, but may lead to a change in the length of daytime by a few milliseconds.
affect = change
contributing = leading to , making something happen
data = information
decade = a period of ten years
due to = because of
glacier = large mass of ice that moves down a mountain valley
Japanese carmaker Honda has announced plans to stop the production of petrol- and diesel-powered cars by 2040. In addition, 40% of all cars produced by the company will be emissions-free, either electric or fuel-cell driven, by 2030. The company also plans to introduce electric motorcycles and scooters to the market. At the moment, Honda does not have very many electric vehicles in its production.
Honda has become a partner of American carmaker General Motors and has agreed to use GM batteries in its new electric cars. It also wants to develop driver-assisted software in order to make cars safer and prevent accidents.
Honda is one of many car producers that have promised to make cars emissions-free. Such cars will become more affordable because of cheaper batteries. They will also provide more range. Currently, only a very small part of cars sold worldwide are electric.
Carmakers are reacting to government plans which are to ban all diesel and petrol cars by a certain date in the future.
affordable = cheap enough for most people to be able to buy it
ban = forbid, not allow
currently = at the moment, now
develop = design or create something new
driver-assisted = here: program that helps a driver drive a car
emissions-free = when no gases get into the atmosphere
fuel-cell = machine in which oxygen and hydrogen are used to produce electricity
in addition = also
range = here: how far you can drive
vehicle = machine with an engine that is used to take people or products from one place to another
The European Super League (ESL) has collapsed only two days after the agreement had been signed by 12 European football clubs. 6 clubs from the English Premiere League as well as 3 teams each from Spain and Italy wanted to break away from the European football organization UEFA and form their own internal competition.
After a day of protest and outrage from fans and supporters the English clubs started to pull out one by one, creating a domino effect and leaving only Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in the competition.
The owners of the clubs wanted to create a league that would give them more money. During the COVID-19 pandemic top football clubs lost millions in income because spectators were not allowed into the stadiums.
The new league would offer the 12 founding clubs permanent membership where they would not have to be afraid of being relegated. Other European clubs would be permitted on a seasonal basis.
After fans protested in front of stadiums, club officials of apologized, saying that their decision to leave the traditional European football structure was a serious mistake.
Some clubs, however, have stated that they still wanted a change in the structure of European football.
agreement = here: promise to do something, made by two or more clubs
collapse = break apart, break down
founding clubs = the 12 clubs that started the league
income = money that a club gets from viewers, selling tickets etc..
internal competition = only the clubs of the league would play against each other and not let any other club into their league
offer = give
officials = the people who run a club
outrage = feeling of anger and shock
pandemic = disease that affects many people in all areas of the world
permanent membership = to be part of something forever
permit = allow
relegate = to move to a lower league
serious = very bad
spectators = the fans who watch the matches in a stadium