Archive for Rick English

Hurricane in the Caribbean

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Hurricane Irma has caused extensive damage in the Caribbean. Several people have died. Many have lost their homes. The Caribbean is a region with many islands. Irma hit Puerto Rico, Cuba and many other small island nations. Finally, it hit the US mainland.

In the Caribbean, there are always storms and hurricanes. However, Irma was especially bad. Experts say, there has never been a storm that was so strong for so long. On the island of Barbuda, the hurricane destroyed over 90 percent of the houses. The head of government there says that the whole island is unlivable. He also blamed climate change in his statement.

Just one week earlier, another severe hurricane hit the Texas coast in the US. Record rainfall flooded several cities in the region. At least 80 people died as a result of the storm.

 

 

 
This scale is based on the grade level of the text. For example, a “7.0” means the reading level of a seventh grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

Fire in London High-Rise

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At 1:15 am, on June 14, a high-rise apartment building in London caught fire. Witnesses reported people being trapped in their apartments yelling for help. Over 200 firefighters were sent to put out the fire. The firefighters rescued people at the 27-storey building. But sadly, many people could not be saved.

Firefighters tried to control the fire on the higher floors but it burned out of control. Officials think there could have been up to 600 people in the building. People living in nearby buildings were evacuated. The reason for the fire was not known but many who escaped said the fire alarm had not been set off by the fire.

Tragically, more than 50 people have died and the death toll is expected to rise. Over 70 people were taken to six hospitals across London. A crowdfunding website has been set up to help the victims at JustGiving.com.

 

 

Which do you live in?

 

 
This scale is based on the grade level of the text. For example, a “7.0” means the reading level of a seventh grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

Trump Pulls US out of Paris Climate Accord

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Donald Trump has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. He says the agreement is bad for America and that the rules are too strict. He believes the strict rules cause unemployment in the US. He doesn’t believe that climate change is so serious.

Almost all nations of the world have signed the accord. The goal of the accord is to stop climate change. The signers agreed to emit much less carbon dioxide. CO2 is the main cause of climate change. The US is a big emitter of CO2. Only China emits more carbon dioxide.

There has been much criticism of Mr. Trump’s decision. Leaders around the world say it is really bad for the US to withdraw. They also say that they will continue to follow the agreement. They do not want to renegotiate.

 

 

What do you think of the United State’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord?

 

 
This scale is based on the grade level of the text. For example, a “6.0” means the reading level of a sixth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

A Wave of Ransomware Attacks

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Hundreds of thousands of Computers around the world were hijacked last week. In Great Britain the blackmailers attacked 48 hospitals. Doctors had to move or cancel operations. In Spain, a large telephone company was affected. In Germany, computers of the country’s train system were attacked. Security agencies around the world are now investigating the attacks.

The blackmailers used a virus during the attack. After becoming infected with the virus, the computers can no longer recognize data. Next a demand appears on the screen. It tells the owners of the computers to pay blackmail money to remove the virus. Only then do the computers work again.

This kind of attack is called a ransomware attack. They have been increasing rapidly over the past several years.

 

 

Have you ever been hacked?

 

 
This scale is based on the grade level of the text. For example, a “10.0” means the reading level of a tenth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

France Gets a New President

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A new president has been elected in France. The new president is Emmanuel Macron. He is for the European Union. Macron beat Marine Le Pen. She is against the EU.

Emmanuel Macron received 66 percent of the vote. Marine Le Pen got 34 percent. Macron will replace François Hollande.

Macron was very pleased with the victory. He is not in any party. He is said to be an independent politician. He used to be in the Socialist Party. Macron wants all French people to have equal rights and the same responsibilities. He wants to make many reforms, especially to the French economy.

On the other hand, his competitor, Marine Le Pen, wants refugees to have fewer rights. And she wants France to leave the European Union. The French rejected that view in this last election.

 

 

Which political category are you in?

 

 
This scale is based on the grade level of the text. For example, a “6.0” means the reading level of a sixth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

The Good and Bad Side to Chocolate

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We love chocolate. We love it so much we eat five kilograms of it a year. But how did it get so popular?

Chocolate was first introduced to Europe about 400 years ago. But it was quite different from the chocolate of the Aztecs in Mexico who first produced it. The Aztecs took the beans of the cocoa tree and ground them into a paste, which was added to water and drunk. It was incredibly bitter. When the Spanish explorers discovered it in the 1600s, they added sugar to sweeten it. This helped it to become popular among the ruling class in Europe.

As it spread across Europe, its price decreased and more people were able to experience its wonderful taste. Over the years, advancements were made in processing the beans and today its taste is very consistent.

But chocolate sadly has a dark side as well. Often, small children are forced to work on cocoa plantations. Because of this, the Fair-Trade Foundation has worked with cocoa growers to make sure they are not using child labor. By buying Fair-Trade chocolate, we can have chocolate that is both good for us and good for others.

 

 

How often do you eat chocolate?

 

 
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “5.0” means the reading level of a fifth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to a the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

World’s First Lab-Grown Chicken Strips Announced

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Americans love chicken. In fact, it’s the most popular meat in the United States. Americans eat more than eight billion chickens per year. But bringing all of that chicken to the dinner table creates a lot of big problems. Meat production is bad for the environment and the welfare of the animals. Plus, it’s really quite inefficient and unsustainable.

Well, a high-tech food company in California may have the solution. In March of this year, Memphis Meats, a pioneer in the “,” announced the first chicken meat grown in a lab from chicken cells. They invited taste-testers to sample the chicken in front of the media. Those who tried it said that it tasted like real chicken, but a little spongier.

You may have to wait a while before you see the high-tech chicken in your local supermarket. It’s still extremely expensive to produce. They estimate that one kilogram costs almost 20,000 dollars. According to the company that price should come down, and they plan to release a reasonably priced product by 2021.

 

How often do you eat meat (beef, chicken, fish, etc)?
 

The push by high-tech companies to develop methods for producing meat directly from animal cells without having to breed, feed and kill animals.)

 
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “9.0” means the reading level of a ninth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to a the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

Brexit Process Begins

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It’s official. Soon, Great Britain will no longer be a member of the European Union. Many people call Great Britain’s exit from the EU “Brexit.” It’s the first time for a country to leave the EU.

The country’s withdrawal will not take place immediately. Leaders from the UK and the EU still have a lot to discuss. They must decide on many rules for the exit. It will take two years to complete.

There are many controversial issues. For example, it’s not clear how much money Great Britain still owes to the EU. Politicians in the UK will have to rewrite many laws. People from other EU countries will no longer be able to live and work there without visas. New trade deals will have to be drawn up. And many people are now wondering if Scotland and Northern Ireland will try to leave the U.K.

Many EU politicians find it unfortunate that Britain does not want to stay. Some have even said that it’s a big mistake. President Donald Tusk of the European Union gave a speech to the press about the withdrawal. He called it a sad day and ended his speech by saying, “We already miss you.”

 
 

Was Brexit a good idea?
 
 

 
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “6.0” means the reading level of a sixth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to a the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

Check out our new YouTube Channel!

Hello Listeners!

You may have noticed a few changes on the site recently, like the new shadowing app and more frequent stories. I hope they are helping your English studies.

Well, today I would like to announce one more. We have started creating videos to give an added dimension to our articles. Please try the link below and let us know what you think in the comments section.

News in Easy English YouTube Channel

 
 

Norway to Build World’s First Tunnel for Ships

Credit: Norwegian Coastal Administration

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Credit: Norwegian Coastal Administration

There are tunnels for cars, tunnels for trains, tunnels for pedestrians, but now Norway has a plan to build the first ever tunnel for large ships. The tunnel will be built in the west of the country for large seagoing ships. It will be 1.7 kilometers long and have a height of roughly 50 meters from top to bottom. This will make it large enough for even large cargo ships to pass through. It will cut through the narrowest part of a peninsula.

Credit: Norwegian Coastal Administration

The tunnel is being built to shorten a frequently stormy route in the region. The coastal waters in the west of Norway are particularly dangerous due to a combination of currents, shallows and high waves. Bad weather there often delays freight traffic and liner service.

There has been talk of building such a tunnel since 1870. Construction of the tunnel should begin in 2018 at the earliest. It is expected to take four years to complete.

 

 
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “8.0” means the reading level of a eight grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to a the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.