I want to read one passage a day to improve my speaking.
Start from today.
And I hope I can insist on this (if time allows) .
Polar bears are superb swimmers. But their hunting ground is the surface of the Arctic ice, where resting seals make easy and calorie-rich prey. In the summer though, a swim between ice floes to catch seals can turn into a marathon.
The researchers fitted the female bear with a radio collar, and tracked her as she swam continuously for nine days - the longest polar bear swim ever recorded. She covered almost 700 km in waters as cold as 2C. Then she hauled herself out of the water and travelled a further 1,800 km - intermittently swimming and walking on the surface of the ice.
When the team recaptured the bear, she had lost almost a quarter of her body weight and her year-old cub, which had been travelling alongside her, had disappeared.
The scientists say that the retreating Arctic ice could be forcing polar bears to take greater risks in search of food, embarking on ever more perilous long-distance journeys.
Students on campus
The government brought back grants in 2004
In England and Northern Ireland, and for non-Welsh students in Wales, full-time undergraduates are liable to pay tuition fees of up to £3,225 a year.
The poorest students are eligible for non-repayable support at up to the same amount.
Thank you for joining this activity.
I agree that it’s difficult to do it every day, so let’s try our best to do so.
If can’t, don’t take it in mind. Try do it tomorrow. =]
The American companies who took part in the survey are optimistic about their prospects for the year ahead. After a difficult couple of years, almost two thirds said they gained market share in their China business this year. Seven out of ten expected their revenue to grow by 10% or more in 2011.
But while China has huge potential for growth, it is also a hugely difficult place to make money. They complain about the problems recruiting and retaining good staff, about local officials who favour domestic companies over their foreign competitors and about the perennial problem of how to protect their intellectual property.
The trade tensions between the two countries don’t help either. In the US, politicians complain bitterly that China doesn’t play fair when it comes to trade, keeping the value of its currency artificially low to help boost exports.
At the report’s launch in Shanghai the consensus was that China is still a risky place to try to do business, but it would be far more risky for a company to ignore China. The growing domestic market here is too valuable to global firms seeking new customers.
Hi Aiken ,I will try to read cth of the BBC.
Bye for now
The leader of Tunisia’s main Islamist movement has returned home after 22 years in exile following the ousting of President Ben Ali earlier this month.
Thousands of people went to the airport to welcome Rachid Ghannouchi, 69, as he arrived in Tunis from London.
He told AFP he would not run in the next presidential poll but his party would contest a parliamentary election.
Observers say his return is the most potent symbol yet of the change that has swept the country since then.
Hello Ssuan and Aiken.
This is my trying.
Nice to meet you here. =]
The Social Network tells the story of how Facebook started, including the legal tussles behind the scenes. As well as being named best drama, it won the award for best screenplay:
“People want to go on the internet and check out their friends, so why not build a website that offers that: friends, pictures, profiles? I’m talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online.”
Colin Firth was named best actor for his role in the British period drama The King’s Speech. He plays George VI in the film about the British monarch’s battle with stammering. His performance has won widespread praise from critics. He joked that the award would help him stave off a mid-life crisis:
“Getting through your… the mid stage of your life with your dignity and your judgement intact can be somewhat precarious and sometimes all you need is a little bit of gentle reassurance to keep you on track.”
Natalie Portman, who stars in the thriller Black Swan was named best actress. She plays a ballet dancer who wins the lead role in Swan Lake, but slowly breaks down under the pressure of rivalry from another ballerina.
One of the most heartfelt standing ovations of the night went to Michael Douglas. He announced last week that he’d made a complete recovery from throat cancer:
“I was… just got to be an easier way to get a standing ovation.”
Meanwhile, the price of Brent crude oil topped $100 a barrel on Monday, pushed higher by fears that supplies could be disrupted if the protests led to the closure of the Suez Canal, which connects Europe and Asia.
Brent rose 65 cents to $100.07 a barrel in afternoon trading.
US light crude also rose 79 cents to $90.13.
Earlier, they had temporarily fallen back after the head of the oil producers’ group Opec said he did not expect the turmoil in Egypt to affect the canal.
And a canal official told state media that the waterway was functioning at full capacity.
More than 4 million barrels of crude oil a day are shipped through the canal or an adjacent pipeline.
On Friday, shares in shipping companies rose, when worries over the Suez Canal began to emerge.
Its closure would mean ships would have to travel around the southern tip of Africa, adding thousands of miles to their journeys, and traders speculated that the tanker owners would be able to charge accordingly.
Shares in Frontline, one of the world’s largest oil tanker operators, ended Friday 7.7% higher on the New York Stock Exchange.
Dr Ho appeared on a Hong Kong television station flanked by the third of his four wives and one of his daughters. He spoke slowly but otherwise appeared calm. He said the controversy over the transfer of his assets to other family members had saddened him. He confirmed that he’d authorised the transaction. He reaffirmed his decision to sack his lawyer, Graham Oldham. Mr Oldham had earlier in the week told the media Dr Ho had been surprised to discover the transfer, was angry about it and threatening to sue.
So will this be the end of the matter? Mr Oldham was still insisting on Wednesday, he hadn’t been sacked; the legal action would still go ahead. But the ageing tycoon’s television appearance would seem to have undermined his lawyer’s suggestion that statements were being made on the billionaire’s behalf by his family that weren’t in line with his wishes.
Meanwhile shares in the ten billion dollar casino firm that provides much of the family’s wealth lost 5% of their value on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday. Theories about what’s behind the row have the gossip columnists in a frenzy, but investors will be hoping a power struggle within the Ho dynasty has now been avoided. The prospect of a courtroom drama wasn’t good for business.
The television pictures of the Egyptian army on the streets of Cairo are a testament to the close relationship between the Pentagon and the Egyptian military. Many of the tanks are US-designed, but built in Egypt itself. This tank production-line is a potent symbol of the close military ties between the two countries.
And no wonder. For while much attention is given to the US-Israel relationship, it’s actually that between Washington and Cairo that has been the strategic cornerstone of US policy in the Middle East for decades.
Indeed Egypt’s importance explains the fundamental ambivalence in US policy; the advocacy of democratic change often compromised by the pragmatic short-term desire to bolster a political order that backs wider US policies in the region.
Children as young as 10 should be taught in school about the dangers of knife crime, a report from ex-EastEnders star Brooke Kinsella says.
Her 16-year-old brother Ben was stabbed to death in north London in 2008.
Ms Kinsella, 27, appointed a government adviser on the issue last year, called for a scheme to deal with the “fear and fashion” factor of knives.
The Home Office has announced it is to spend £18m over the next two years to combat knife, gun and gang crime.
Ms Kinsella has been a vocal campaigner on the issue of youth violence since her brother was stabbed 11 times on a night out in Holloway, north London.
Since then, Ms Kinsella has sat in on education sessions, met youth mentors and spent time talking to young people.
“I really believe the problem of knife crime has escalated in the past few years, and the impact it has on communities and families is devastating,” she said.
Hi would you please listen to my recording?
Kids who have had certain vaccines might be less likely to develop cancer, especially one type of leukemia, suggests a new study.
The findings, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, showed that kids born in counties where most children had been vaccinated for hepatitis B had about 20 percent lower odds of all types of childhood cancers than those born in counties where fewer were vaccinated.
Those born in counties with high use both of polio vaccines and of a vaccine series that included hepatitis B and polio, among other diseases, had 30 to 40 percent lower odds of getting acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer that affects the white blood cells.
But despite the apparent relationship, which should become more clear with future research, “we don’t think it’s the end all be all,” said Dr. Michael Scheurer, one of the study’s authors from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. It’s not “get your kids vaccinated and they won’t get cancer.”
Previous studies of the subject have shown mixed results. According to one theory, some common infections may increase a child’s risk of leukemia, or blood cancer, because of the effect they have on the developing immune system.
Vaccinations, theoretically, should then cut down on that cancer risk - unless the vaccine itself closely enough mimics a natural infection.
According the National Cancer Institute, more than 10,000 kids are diagnosed with cancer each year. The most common childhood cancers are leukemia and brain and spinal cord cancers.
Childhood cancers “are so rare,” Scheurer told Reuters Health. “But when they do happen, it’s a really devastating event.”
Scheurer and his colleagues wanted to see if kids born in areas of Texas where most children were vaccinated according to standard procedures were more or less likely to get cancer than those born in areas with lower vaccination rates. Using data on all cancer diagnoses in the state, they identified 2,800 cases of childhood cancer diagnosed in 1995-2006 among kids born in Texas.
The authors focused on kids who were diagnosed when they were at least 2 years old, as vaccinations have generally been completed by then.
For each child who had been diagnosed with cancer, the researchers found four others of the same age and gender who had not. Then, they compared how many of the kids with and without cancer had been born in counties with high vaccination rates.
While the authors did not have data on which individual children had been vaccinated, kids living in areas with high vaccination rates are generally considered safe from infection because of “herd immunity” - the idea that infection can’t spread when only a few are susceptible.
According to Scheurer, the strongest finding was a decreased risk of leukemia in areas with high vaccination rates for hepatitis B and polio - which is also where most of the previous childhood cancer research has shown a benefit for vaccination.
Finding six new planets around a single star represents an impressive haul. Nasa is calling it the best find since the first so-called ‘exoplanet’ was discovered 16 years ago. It might not be the most populated solar system yet found - six or possibly seven planets have been found in a rival system, but it’s the nature of this new discovery which is getting the astronomers scratching their heads in wonder.
Five of the six planets are crammed tightly in around the Kepler-11 star, with orbits of between just ten and 47 days. That means they’re all super hot, but the data suggests they’re also made mostly of gas.
That’s strange, because small hot planets this close in should have been ripped asunder by their parent star in their formative years, say the scientists. One possible explanation is that the planets started out bigger and further out and were slowly dragged into tighter orbits, as part of a contracting belt of dust and asteroids.
EMI owns the rights to some of the world’s best-known musicians, including the Beatles and the rock band Coldplay. The company was bought for $6.5 billion by a private equity group headed by one of London’s most prominent financiers, Guy Hands, in 2007, shortly before the global financial crisis.
That valuation looked massively optimistic after the markets crashed and EMI’s new owner was saddled with an unpayable legacy of debt. Citigroup, which bankrolled the deal, fought for repayment of loans.
The issue was the subject of a high-profile court case in London, which Guy Hands lost. He claimed Citigroup, his bankers, had duped him into paying too much for EMI by suggesting there was a rival bidder when there wasn’t. EMI’s business performance improved considerably under his ownership, but the debt burden was just too big.
It’s unclear what will happen now Citigroup have taken control, but the move means a big chunk of EMI’s debt has been erased leaving it financially stronger.
The notion that there are two species of African elephant first emerged about a decade ago. The animals are very different in size; the savannah or bush elephants stand about a metre taller, and weigh twice as much as their forest-dwelling cousins. But whether this means they are truly different species hasn’t been clear.
Now a team of researchers from the UK, Germany and the US, say they’ve resolved the issue. Writing in the journal Public Library of Science Biology, they say their analysis proves the existence of two distinct species. This has been a hotly-disputed question and it’s entirely possible that other researchers will challenge the claim.
If it is confirmed, there may be important implications for conservation. Forest elephants are mainly found in Central and Western Africa, the areas where poaching and ivory smuggling are most serious. There, populations are declining. Further south, in the domain of the savannah elephants, the animals are thriving. Conservationists say proving the species split could help concentrate attention where it’s most needed, on nations that have done little to crack down on poachers and smugglers.
If you haven’t heard of the Huffington Post, here’s what you need to know. It launched six years ago as a small start-up company and now ranks as one of the top ten current events and global news sites in America. The woman behind it is Arianna Huffington, a Greek-American columnist with a long list of high-powered friends and celebrity contacts. Those connections began blogging on the website. Soon the Huffington Post became a pioneer at encouraging both established and new writers to post their thoughts online for free.
With around 25 million monthly visitors it’s certainly got momentum. But business analysts say AOL’s 300 million dollar deal to buy the site could be a risky bet on the future of online content. AOL’s fortunes have been sliding over the past decade as its dial-up customers flock to broadband internet services.
The company will be counting on its latest acquisition to secure its future as a major internet brand. It will face competition from other emerging online newspapers, such as Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily, which launched last week, and is designed to be read on Apple’s portable iPad computers.
Similar purchases by AOL and Rupert Murdoch haven’t always been a success. They believed that the websites Bebo and MySpace represented the future of social networking. Both were rapidly overtaken by Facebook.
When the 112th Congress meets, it will be the first time the Republicans have been in charge of the House of Representatives since 2006, and their leader John Boehner will be elected as Speaker.
Many of the new conservative members intend to make their presence felt. It’s not just that they can and will stop President Obama from turning any more of his plans into laws. They want to change America’s economic policy with a programme of what they call cut and grow, pruning Government spending while encouraging economic growth by cutting regulations.
They also want to repeal President Obama’s major legislative achievement: making near universal health care insurance compulsory. But that is only symbolic. In the unlikely event the Senate also voted for the repeal of health care, the president would simply veto it.
There will be a titanic struggle for the control of government, but initially at least it may be disguised by both sides promising to work together for the good of the American people.
Titan is a mysterious world. Because it’s shrouded in a thick, oily haze, it’s extremely hard to identify anything at the moon with confidence. But with temperatures that plunge to minus 180 Celsius at the surface, researchers had suspected it might have ice volcanoes.
And now the Cassini probe has spotted a 1,500m-high mountain with a deep pit in it, and what looks like a flow of material nearby.
Scientists can only speculate what sort of material a cryo-volcano might erupt, but the complex chemistry at Titan suggests it could be a slushy water-ice containing ammonia.
If there are a lot of carbon molecules present, the lava could even look like softened asphalt, candle wax or even polyethylene.
The team which discovered the mountain have dubbed it “the Rose”.
The cost of a top education in England looks set to soar. The British government chose to allow universities to increase tuition fees to $9,500 a year, to secure the future of higher education as public finances are cut. Ministers said the costs could rise to around $14,500 in exceptional circumstances.
Surprisingly, two of England’s most prestigious universities, Oxford and Cambridge, have already signalled they will charge this top rate. An internal Cambridge review said it’ll be for all courses, with discounts of up to $5,000 for poorer students. The deputy head of Oxford University said it’ll be charging the maximum for all subjects, to make up for budget cuts and to be able to subsidise the less well-off.
Opposing the increases, some students said talented young people could still be turned off applying, to avoid being overwhelmed by debt. They fear social elitism will replace academic excellence.
The report includes some striking criticism of the IMF’s performance ahead of the crisis. The agency provided few clear warnings about the risks, the report says.
IMF surveillance of the economic situation was characterised by over-confidence in the soundness of large financial institutions. The risks associated with housing booms and financial innovations, subsequently called toxic assets, were downplayed.
The IMF’s managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn welcomed the report, which he said puts forward many constructive ideas and is consistent with the Fund’s own analysis.
The IMF has had a central role in responding to the crisis, with emergency loans and other assistance for some countries. The IMF has a continuing role in dealing with the financial problems in the Euro area, where it is providing loans to both Ireland and Greece.
It began with three friends searching for an easier way to share videos. One - Jawed Karim - uploaded the site’s first clip - a movie of himself dressed in an anorak at San Diego Zoo.
By the end of its first year YouTube was broadcasting 25 million videos a day and it was soon bought by the internet giant Google. In 2010 24 hours of video are now uploaded every minute.
The site’s also become an important political tool - almost a million people watched a wounded girl dying during protests in Iran in July 2009. President Barack Obama successfully used the site during his election campaign.
Thousands of teenagers around the world have also used the site to upload embarrassing videos of friends and its creators have been forced to deny claims that it’s encouraged bullying.
With online habits and fads constantly changing no-one’s sure what the next five years hold for YouTube. Some believe it could end up as a TV channel beamed into our living rooms. Others predict it will be overtaken by new technology and dumped on the internet scrap heap.