Thursday, May 26, 2011

19-year-old man arrested for beating up woman's 5-year-old daughter

A 19-year-old man was arrested in Kobe on Wednesday for assaulting and injuring the second daughter of the 31-year-old woman with whom he was living.
According to police, on May 20, the 5-year-old girl was taken to a doctor who informed the Kobe Child Welfare Center of the possibility that she was suffering from abuse, after discovering that she had sustained broken ribs and that her body was covered in bruises. The center then informed the police on Wednesday, at which point the nature of the alleged assaults came to light.
The testimony of the woman’s other children led to the man’s arrest. The man began living with the woman and her four children in March of this year. The woman’s eldest son, aged just 8, and eldest daughter, aged 7, both told police they had witnessed the man punching and kicking their sister since April.
The children’s mother was quoted by police as saying: “I had no idea any mistreatment had been taking place.”
Vocabulary Words: Read the vocabulary words and the example sentences. Make your own sentence using the vocabulary word/s afterwards.
assault (v. or n.): attack
            The kidnapper assaulted the child.
            The old lady experienced assaults.
injure (v.): hurt badly
            The man injured his wife.
suffer (v.): to experience pain
            I don’t want to suffer from divorce.
abuse (v. or n.): to treat in a harmful way; to hurt; to harm; to injure
            He abused the child.
            The old lady experienced abuse.
bruise (n.): an injury of the skin, with discoloration
            After the fight, the man got bruises.
alleged (adj.): not yet proven; without evidence or proof
            He is the alleged murderer.
came to light (v.): was/were discovered
            The cure for cancer came to light.
testimony (n.): statement of the witness
            Her testimony is very important for the investigation.
punch (v.): to hurt someone using the fist (hand)
            He punched the woman.
kick (v.): to hurt someone using the leg/foot
            He kicked the woman.
mistreatment (n.): abuse
            The child experienced mistreatment.

Comprehension check: Answer the questions based on the article.
1. Why was the 19-year-old man arrested?
2. Why did the doctor say that the girl was suffering from abuse?
3. What did the woman’s other children say about the man?
4. Did the woman know that her daughter is being abused?

Agree or Disagree: Explain your answer.
1. Child abuse is a problem in Japan.
2. The crime rate in Japan is very high.
3. I had been a victim of a crime.

What do you think are the reasons why people abuse other people?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Family finds $45,000 in new home – then returns it

Josh and Tara Ferrin, left, turn over the bags of money to Dennis and Kay Bangerter Photo: AP

TELEGRAPH--A man in Utah discovered $45,000 (£28,000) stuffed into tins and boxes in the attic of the new home he had just bought – and gave the money back to the previous owner's six children.

Josh Ferrin was exploring the house he had just bought when he made the discovery.
"I freaked out, locked it in my car, and called my wife to tell her she wouldn't believe what I had found," said Mr Ferrin, who works as an artist for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City.
Along with his wife and children, they spread out thousands of notes on a table, separating the bundles one by one. They stopped counting at $40,000.
Despite being tempted to keep the money to help him pay for mounting bills and broken down car, Mr Ferrin sought out the children of the home's previous owner, who had died, and gave them the money.
"I'm not perfect, and I wish I could say there was never any doubt in my mind. We knew we had to give it back, but it doesn't mean I didn't think about our car in need of repairs, how we would love to adopt a child and aren't able to do that right now, or fix up our outdated house that we just bought," he said. "But the money wasn't ours to keep and I don't believe you get a chance very often to do something radically honest, to do something ridiculously awesome for someone else and that is a lesson I hope to teach to my children."

Vocabulary Words: Read the vocabulary words and the example sentences. Make your own sentence using the vocabulary word/s afterwards.

stuff (v.): fill; place or put
            She is going to stuff the bag with a lot of clothes.
tin (n.): a metal can
            The tin is full of garbage.
attic (n.): a space found directly below the roof of a house or other building
            The woman lives in an attic.
explore (v.): to investigate; to examine; to travel into
            I’m going to explore Europe after graduation.
freak out (v.): to become frightened, nervous or wildly excited
            Mr. Smith freak out after seeing a snake at his house.
mounting (adj.): very large/big (like a mountain)
            I will wash the mounting dishes.
sought (v.): past tense of seek (look for something)
            I sought for my wallet and I fount it.
outdated (adj.): very old-fashioned; old
            His car is outdated.
radically (adv.): completely; thoroughly
            He radically changed his opinion.
ridiculously (adv.): extremely silly or unreasonable
            Making money in those days was so ridiculously easy!
awesome (adj.): great
            My trip to Hong Kong is awesome.

Comprehension check: Answer the questions based on the article.
1. Where and how did the man find the money?
2. What did the man do when he saw the money?
3. What did he do to the money?
4. Why did he return the money?

Agree or Disagree: Explain your answer.
1. Money is the most important thing in the world.
2. I will return a large sum of money if ever I find it.
3. We should always be honest.

Whites Say They, Not Blacks, Are Racism Victims

Whites think that they're victims of racial discrimination more than blacks are, a new study finds.
CREDIT: © Yuri Arcurs | 

LIVESCIENCE--Despite ongoing racial disparities in America, whites believe they are victims of racism more than blacks, a new study finds. According to the researchers, the study contradicts the notion of a "post-racial" society ushered in by President Barack Obama's election.

"It's a pretty surprising finding when you think of the wide range of disparities that still exist in society, most of which show black Americans with worse outcomes than whites in areas such as income, home ownership, health and employment," study researcher Samuel Sommers, a psychologist at Tufts University, said in a statement.
Sommers and his colleagues asked a nationwide sample of 208 blacks and 209 whites to complete questionnaires asking how much racial discrimination each group experienced from the 1950s onward. While both groups agreed on the amount of racial discrimination in the 50s, whites believe that racism against blacks decreased faster than blacks do.
The biggest difference, however, was that whites believe that anti-white bias has increased as anti-black bias has decreased. On average, the researchers found, whites rated anti-white racism as more prevalent in the 2000s than anti-black bias by more than a full point on a 10-point scale. Eleven percent of whites said whites are currently "very much" targets of discrimination, compared with 2 percent of blacks who said blacks are "very much" discrimination targets.
The study suggests that whites see racial equality as a zero-sum game, in which one group wins at the other's expense.
"These data are the first to demonstrate that not only do whites think more progress has been made toward equality than do blacks, but whites also now believe that this progress is linked to a new inequality — at their expense," Sommers and his colleagues wrote in May in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.
Vocabulary Words: Read the vocabulary words and the example sentences. Make your own sentence using the vocabulary word/s afterwards.

disparity (n.): inequality
  • disparity in age
racism (n.): hatred of another race
  • They say that racism is very common in the US.
notion (n.): a general understating or belief or opinion
  • That’s his notion, not mine.
usher (v.) (usually followed by in): lead or precede something (start something)
  • Japan ushered in the manufacturing of Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras.

racial discrimination (n.): abusive behaviour towards members of another race
  • The article says that the whites are victims of racial discrimination.

bias (v. or adj.): partiality; favouritism
  • The judge had an obvious bias against letting criminals out of jail early.

prevalent (adj.): widespread; occurring almost everywhere
  • Racism is prevalent nowadays.
zero-sum game (n.): a situation where the gain of one player is offset by the loss of another player, equaling the sum of zero.
FOR EXAMPLE: if you play a single game of chess with someone, one person will lose and one person will win. The win (+1) added to the loss (-1) equals zero.

Comprehension check: Answer the questions based on the article.
1.  What are some evidences showing that Blacks are racially discriminated?
2. How did Sommers assess racism in the US?
3. What was the result of the survey?

Agree or Disagree: Explain your answer.
1. I have experienced racism.
2. Racism occurs in Japan/in my country.
3. Racism is a big deal.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Brazilians protest against new environmental laws

Environmental activists dressed as clowns, holding chainsaws made from Styrofoam and plastic stand on top of the Monumento ├ás Bandeiras or Flag Monument during a protest against proposed changes to Brazil’s Forest Code, which protects deforestation of the Amazon, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday May 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

SAO PAULO (AP) -- Brazilian authorities say about 1,000 people gathered in South America's biggest city to protest against environmental law changes that they say would increase deforestation in the Amazon.

Brazil's Congress is expected to vote this week on whether to ease environmental laws in favor of Brazilian farmers who are seeking more space to raise cattle.

Farmers are supporting a bill that would let them clear half the land on their properties in environmentally sensitive areas. Current law allows farmers to clear just 20 percent of their land in the Amazon zone.

The protesters want revisions in the legislation to protect the rain forest.

Former Brazil Environmental Minister Marina Silva attended Sunday's protest in Sao Paulo.

(Mainichi Japan) May 23, 2011

Vocabulary WordsRead the vocabulary words and the example sentences. Make your own sentence using the vocabulary word/s afterwards. 

protest (v. or n.): an expression or declaration of objection, disapproval in opposition to something
a protest against increased taxation
deforestation (n.): an act of clearing or destroying the forest
Should deforestation be made legal in Japanese forests?
ease (v.): enact or to make legal
The government will ease the bill on one child policy.
bill (n.): a proposed law
The Governor read the bill through again.
zone (n.): area
This is an English-only zone.

Comprehension check: Answer the questions based on the article.
1. Why are the people protesting?
2. What is expected from Brazil’s Congress about this matter?
3. What kind of bill does the Brazilian farmers support?

Agree or Disagree: Explain your answer.
1. Forests are more important than agricultural lands.
2. Humans will be affected in many ways if the forests will be destroyed.

Junk food foes to McDonald's: Retire Ronald!

Protestors in Chicago urge pedestrians to support calling for McDonald's to retire Ronald McDonald, claiming the mascot markets unhealthy food to children that leads to childhood obesity.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Ronald McDonald, the orange and white face of the popular fast-food chain that bears his name, is under attack by nutrition advocates who want him to be retired.
Their beef, so to speak, is that McDonald's uses clowns and toys to sell unhealthy food to impressionable children. The company argues that its marketing practices are responsible, and that its food is "high quality."
The push to retire Ronald is being led by a group called Corporate Accountability International, which plans to introduce a resolution calling for the clown's ouster at the company's annual shareholder meeting Thursday.
"Through this initiative, the public health community is rallying behind a simple message to McDonald's: stop making the next generation sick -- retire Ronald and the rest of your junk food marketing to kids," said Steven Rothschild, a professor at Rush Medical College and a backer of the resolution.
McDonald's is already being sued by a group of consumers and health care professionals over the toys that come in the Happy Meals marketed to kids. The group filed a class action suit late last year in California that claims the company's marketing practices violate state's consumer protection laws.
In addition, a group of Philadelphia nuns filed a proxy resolution in March asking McDonald's to investigate its "policy response" to concerns about the link between fast food and childhood obesity.
McDonalds stands by Ronald and says that it is committed to children's health and nutrition.
"We are committed to responsible advertising and take our communications to children very seriously," McDonald's said in a statement.
The company has argued that it has introduced healthy alternatives such as Apple Dippers and low-fat milk in Happy Meals. But critics say the company still serves French fries in the vast majority of its kid-friendly combo meals.
 Source: CNN Money

Vocabulary WordsRead the vocabulary words and the example sentences. Make your own sentence using the vocabulary word/s afterwards.

bears (v.): uses or carries
·         My daughter in-law bears my last name.
advocate (n.): person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc.
·         She is an advocate of peace in her country.
beef (v. or n.): complain
·         Don’t beef! You sound like a kid.
·         Their beef is that McDonald's uses clowns and toys to sell unhealthy food to children.
resolution (n.): a solution to a problem
·         The government coulnd’t think of any resolution.
ouster (n.): removal from a position
·         An ouster of a law can be made.
initiative (n. or adj.): an introductory act or step; leading action
·         She lacks the initiative in making friends.
·         Initiative steps were taken to stop manufacture of the drug.
rally (v.): to come together for common action or effort
·         The disunited party rallied in time for the election campaign.
backer (n.): supporter
·         I am a backer of this campaign.
sue (v.): to seek justice or right from (a person) by legal process; to bring an action against someone
·         The woman will sue him because of kidnapping.
class action (n.): a legal case where a small number of people can sue on behalf of a larger group
·         Dads launch class action against Mumsnet.
nun (n.): a catholic woman who has taken vows committing her to a spiritual life
·         My sister wants to become a nun.
proxy (adj.): the authority to act for another/ a person empowered to act for another
·         Members may appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf.
obesity (n.): the condition of being very very fat
·         My friend doesn't know how to manage obesity.

Comprehension Check: Read and answer the questions based on the article.
1.    Why do advocates want McDonald’s to be closed?
2.    What is McDonald’s response to the people?
3.    What are other food alternatives that McDonald’s offer?

Agree or Disagree: Explain your answer.
1.    Junk food is really junk.
2.    Junk foods are really delicious!
3.    Chocolate is a junk food.