Archive for World

Brexit Process Begins

Brexit Process Begins (slow) slow
Brexit Process Begins (fast) fast

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.

Norway to Build World’s First Tunnel for Ships

Credit: Norwegian Coastal Administration

Norway to Build World’s First Tunnel for Ships (slow) slow
Norway to Build World’s First Tunnel for Ships (fast) fast

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.

Trump’s and Merkel’s Awkward Meeting

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On March 17 the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, met U.S. president, Donald Trump for the first time. Trump has been president of the USA since January 20th. The two talked about many things, for example about NATO. Trump wants Germany to pay more money for NATO. They also talked about fighting Islamic terrorism and the trade deficit.

During the election campaign last year Trump criticized Merkel several times. Specifically, he criticized her refugee policy. At the meeting in the White House, Merkel said it was better to talk with each other than about each other.

In one of the more awkward moments of the meeting, Trump appeared to refuse to shake hands with the German Chancellor. He did, however, shake hands with her when she arrived at the White House earlier.

 

What do you think about Trump's presidency so far?

 
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.

The Radioactive Wild Boars of Fukushima

The Radioactive Wild Boars of Fukushima

The Radioactive Wild Boars of Fukushima (slow) slow
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Hundreds of radioactive boars are roaming the towns of Fukushima. These towns were abandoned after the nuclear power plant meltdown in 2011. The Japanese government will allow residents to return to their homes in some towns this year. However, officials worry that the wild boars will attack people when they try to come back. Over the six years, the boars have lost their fear of humans. Some are even living in abandoned homes.

Hunters have been hired to kill the boars. So far around 800 have been killed. Boar meat is a popular dish in Japan. However, the meat of these boars is too dangerous to eat. In fact, it is 300 times over the safe limit. Disposing of the dead boars is very problematic; there are very few facilities to handle them.

Now, there are many wild animals in the area. There are reports of large populations of wild dogs and rats, as well.

 

 

Are you for or against nuclear power?

 
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 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.

Mount Etna Erupts

Mount Etna Erupts (slow) slow
Mount Etna Erupts (fast) fast

Mount Etna is a volcano located in southern Italy. It is on the island of Sicily. Now, Mount Etna is spewing out red hot rocks and ash. However, experts say that there is no danger for people.

Mount Etna has often erupted in the past. The last eruption was in 2014. Even now a stream of molten rock is flowing down the mountain. This is called a lava flow. The volcano is also spewing out clouds of dust. Scientists say that these clouds are not so bad this time.

Experts say, people do not need to be afraid. Even for those who live close by there is no immediate danger.

No one is sure how long the volcanic eruption will last. Sometimes it is over after a few days.

Mt. Etna is the second most active volcano on earth. Only Hawaii’s Kilauea is more active.

 

 
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 the 12th grade or last year in high school, a ’13’ equals the first year in university. These grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.

A Dramatic Increase in Garbage in the Arctic

polar bear garbage

Arctic Garbage slow Arctic Garbage fast

There are very few people living in . You would not expect to find much garbage there. Recently, however, some German researchers have discovered a lot of plastic, glass and other waste in the sea there. They say that there is twenty times more garbage than compared to ten years ago.

polar bear small

The researchers are not exactly sure what is causing the increase in the amount of garbage there. It could be coming from very far away. Ocean currents can spread things over many kilometers. Another factor may be climate change. Ice cover in the Arctic has been shrinking. This has lead to more fishing and tour boats coming into the region. Some of the litter could be coming from these sources.

Ocean garbage is dangerous. Fish and other animals can die. Animals often suffocate when they try to eat plastic bags. Also, it is not healthy for people who eat the fish.

 
Which do you believe? Please choose one.
 
 

 

The Arctic is the part of the earth above 66° 34′ N. Above this latitude the sun does not set on the day of the summer solstice (the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere), and does not rise on the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

 
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “7.0” means the reading level of a seventh 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.

The Kazuhito Kosaka Story

pen apple pineapple pen

How a Short YouTube Video and Justin Bieber
Changed A Life

The Kazuhito Kosaka Story slow The Kazuhito Kosaka Story fast

For more than 20 years, Kazuhito Kosaka was trying his best to make it as a Japanese comedian. He was successful enough to be in a 7-11 commercial, but he wasn’t a major star. But his life changed in just 45 seconds.

Kazuhito Kosaka’s stage name is Pikotaro, and one day he made a short and silly YouTube video called Pen, Pineapple, Apple, Pen (PPAP). But once people saw the 45-second song, they went crazy for it. One of the biggest fans of the performance was Justin Bieber, who tweeted that it was his “favorite video on the Internet.” With Justin’s support the video has gone on to get over 52 million hits! And its popularity is still growing.

Of course Justin Bieber and Pikotaro never met in person… until this January, when they filmed a commercial together for Japanese cell phone provider Softbank. Pikotaro doesn’t know if his success will continue or PPAP will turn out to be a one-hit wonder, but he’s trying to enjoy the fame as long as it lasts. And with Justin Bieber now his friend, his star could continue shining for a long time to come!

Level 85

Will the United States Build a Wall?

border wall

Trump’s Wall slow Trump’s Wall fast

Donald Trump, the president of the USA, wants to build a wall. He wants to build this wall on the border with Mexico. His plan is causing much anger in Mexico and the U.S.

Currently, there is only a fence on some parts of the border between the two countries. The Rio Grande River makes up about half of the border.

The wall is supposed to stop immigrants. Many people come to the U.S. without permission from Mexico. Trump wants to prevent this.

Many questions about the proposed wall are still unanswered. For example, who will pay for its construction? Trump says Mexico will pay. The President of Mexico completely rejects this idea.

The wall will be 3,100 kilometers long. That is longer than the Danube, the longest river in western Europe.

There is much criticism about Trump’s plans. Many claim that the wall will put people at risk and tear families apart.

What do you think about the wall?

 
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “6.5” 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.

2016: The Warmest Year Ever

hottest year ever

Hottest Year Ever slow Hottest Year Ever fast

Last year the world was hot like never before. That is according to international weather researchers. They say it was due to climate change.

Weather researchers from the United States and Switzerland measured the temperatures around the world. They compared the temperatures ​​with previous years. The conclusion: 2016 set a new heat record for the world. The scientists say that this climate change was caused by human activity.

In 2015, many countries gathered in Paris and adopted a treaty to protect the climate. The countries there agreed that we should not let the earth’s temperature go up more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. These new measurements show that this will be very difficult.

Level 70

A Campaign to Shame Rule-Breaking Drivers

Level 65

Shaming Drivers slow Shaming Drivers fast

交通違反ドライバーを恥じさせるためのキャンペーン

, a group of young people in Russia . is . The young men wait on a . At first, they . . , however, . The . The stickers .

. One woman in the video . Another . , .

The . , their video .

Click for vocabulary list!

A Campaign to Shame Rule-Breaking Drivers 交通違反ドライバーを恥じさせるためのキャンペーン
Recently 最近
started a campaign キャンペーンを始めった
The aim of the campaign キャンペーンの狙い
to shame drivers who do not follow traffic rules 交通規則に従わない運転手を恥じさせる
footpath 小道
to block motorists who illegally use it as a shortcut 近道に、不法に使うドライバーを阻止する
politely ask the drivers to turn back. 運転手に引き返すよう礼儀正しく頼む
Most apologize and turn around ほとんどは謝罪して、引き返す
Others 他の人たち
are less cooperative 協力的でない
youths 若者たち
stick big stickers on their windshields 大きいなステッカーを彼らのフロントガラスに張り付ける
when they do not cooperate 彼らが協力しなかったとき
are made in such a way that they don’t come off very easily 簡単にとれないように作られている
Some motorists 何人かのドライバー
react very strongly 非常に強く反応する
even threatens to murder the youths その若者たちを殺すとさえ脅迫する
continues driving with one of the young men on the hood of her car 彼女の車のボンネットに若者を乗せたまま運転を続ける
Luckily 幸いに
no one was injured in the video 動画の中で誰も負傷しなかった
movement 運動
has been quite successful とても成功している
So far 今のところ
has had over 1 million views on YouTube YouTubeで100万以上再生されている

最近
キャンペーンを始めった
キャンペーンの狙い
交通規則に従わない運転手を恥じさせる
小道
近道に、不法に使うドライバーを阻止する
運転手に引き返すよう礼儀正しく頼む
ほとんどは謝罪して、引き返す
他の人たち
協力的でない
若者たち
大きいなステッカーを彼らのフロントガラスに張り付ける
彼らが協力しなかったとき
簡単にとれないように作られている
何人かのドライバー
非常に強く反応する
その若者たちを殺すとさえ脅迫する
彼女の車のボンネットに若者を乗せたまま運転を続ける
幸いに
動画の中で誰も負傷しなかった
運動
とても成功している
今のところ
YouTubeで100万以上再生されている