Archive for World

Fire in London High-Rise

Fire in London High-Rise
(slow)
slow
Fire in London High-Rise
(fast)
fast

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

Trump Pulls US out of Paris Climate Accord (slow) slow
Trump Pulls US out of Paris Climate Accord (fast) fast

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

A Wave of Ransomware Attacks (slow) slow
A Wave of Ransomware Attacks (fast) fast

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.

Vote in Turkey

Vote in Turkey (slow) slow
Vote in Turkey (fast) fast

People voted for a new constitution in Turkey last week. As a result, the president of the country gains much more power. The president’s opponents are saying that the election was fake.

The President of Turkey is Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan has wanted a presidential system for his country for a long time. In the new presidential system, the president can decide many things by himself. The parliament in Turkey will become much weaker than before.

The vote was very close. Nearly half of the citizens voted no. Many people worry that Erdogan has become too powerful. They fear that Erdogan will become a dictator. A dictator is a leader of a country who has control over everything.

The opposition in Turkey also says that the election was fake. They claim many ballots were not in order. International observers also say that there were problems with the election.

 

 

Do you think your country is a true democracy?

 

 

This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a ‘8.0’ means the reading level of a eighth 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.

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

Trump’s and Merkel’s Awkward Meeting (slow) slow
Trump’s and Merkel’s Awkward Meeting (fast) fast

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
The Radioactive Wild Boars of Fukushima (fast) fast

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.