The Good, Bad And Ugly English News This Week
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Hi there, I’m Hilary and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. This is our weekly podcast – if you’ve listened before, welcome back. And if this is your first time with Adept English, then you’ve found something that’s really going to help you with your English language fluency. It’s a different approach – you learn by listening, lots of times to the same spoken English. And magically your English understanding and fluency just get better and better. So let’s give you some topical subjects to listen to this week. Let’s try having a look at some stories in the news. You’ll probably recognise some of them as you may have heard them already – and this should make your understanding easier. I will at least explain the difficult vocabulary.
So in the news this week.
Lots of news reports about the deaths and the persecution of the Rohinghia Muslims in Myanmar. Death is when a person loses their life, they die, it’s the end of their life. And persecution is a noun – and it describes a situation where people are being punished, treated really badly and it keeps happening again and again. People are persecuted often because of their race, or their religion or some other part of their identity. And it seems from the news this week that this has been the case with the Rohinghia Muslims in Myanmar. The government in Myanmar does not recognise the Rohinghias as a particular group. So that when the Pope was visiting the country and he used the word Rohingias – this was news because the Buddhist majority in Myanmar – so that means most of the people in the country who belong to the biggest religion in Myanmar, Buddhism – [they] do not recognise the Rohinghia’s. And the leader in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t recognise them either – although lots of other people are feeling she’s not such a good leader as they thought because of this.
Another news story – there was a trial this week in the Hague of a war criminal. A war criminal means someone who is on trial, in court, going through a legal process in the Hague because of his action, because of things he did to other people during a war. Now this war criminal was a man called Slobodan Praljak, who was in court for war crimes, during the conflict in Bosnia in 1992 to 1995. Praljak was convicted, he was found guilty in 2013 of crimes that is, while he was commanding Bosnian Croat army. An army is a large group of soldiers, so men who are ready to fight – and if you command an army, it means that you direct it, you decide what army does. It was found that Slobodan Praljak had not stopped his soldiers rounding up Muslims and had not stopped his soldiers from killing Muslims. Well, this week in the Hague, it was the final judgement – and when Slobodan Praljak heard the news, standing in the courtroom, he drank Potassium Cyanide and killed himself. That must have been a dramatic end to the court process. He died later in hospital. Again there is some divided opinion. Some people see him as a war criminal, other people as someone who has been punished unfairly for actions he carried out in wartime. Apparently Bosnian Croats, around 1,000 Bosnian Croats gathered in a square in Mostar late on Wednesday to light candles in his memory, as they think he’s a hero.
Now the big news in the UK this week – it seems that Prince Harry has finally popped the question to Meghan Markle. There’s a nice English idiom for you – if someone ‘pops the question’, it means that they’re going to ask someone to marry them. Lots of news coverage about Meghan Markle being mixed race, she’s American also and she’s divorced. The news stories are mostly saying ‘Isn’t it good that it doesn’t matter any more’ as there would have been a time when being mixed race or being American or being divorced would have mattered to the Royal Family. I think that Prince Harry is popular amongst people who aren’t particularly Royalists. Royalists are people who support the Royal family. Despite his upbringing, Prince Harry seems quite normal – and it helps that he’s got a good sense of humour. If we say someone has ‘a good sense of humour’, it means that they laugh and they make other people laugh too. There were lots of interviews after the engagement was announced. Engagement is the period of time when a couple, two people have decided to marry, but they haven’t yet got married. In the interview, Harry talked about how for 30 years, he’s had trouble with the Queen’s dogs not liking him and they would bark at him whenever he went to visit the Queen. But apparently with Meghan Markle, the dogs just lay peacefully at her feet straight away. In my recent podcast called English Words for Family Members, I said that the word ‘grandmother’ is more likely to be used by someone like William or Harry, speaking to the Queen – it’s not the word normal people would use. However, apparently it seems that Prince William sometimes used to call the Queen ‘Gary’ because when he was little, he couldn’t say Grannie. This is funny in English, because ‘Gary’ is a man’s name, and typically someone called Gary would be about 40-60 years old – and it might be the name of the man who comes to fix your washing machine or who runs your local pub. So hardly a name for the Queen. Let’s think of some famous Garys that you might have heard of – if you like football, Gary Neville or Gary Lineker even. And if you like music, Gary Barlow maybe or even Gary Numan perhaps. You get the idea of what a Gary typically looks like.
Another news story this week, which was a nice one – the story of Bette Nash, who at 81 years old – yes that’s 81 – is still working as a flight attendant. A flight attendant is one of the people who work on board planes – they serve you drinks and show you how to use the emergency exits in the plane, tell you how to fasten your seatbelt – and generally look after the passengers on planes. Well Bette Nash works for American Airlines and she’s been doing the job of flight attendant for 60 years. She said that she still enjoys the job and enjoys working with the people. And her employer thinks she’s wonderful too. She said she has no plans to stop yet, no plans for retirement. Retirement is when you stop working because you are old or sometimes because you’ve got enough money to retire and you don’t want to work any more. I like that story – well done to American Airlines. It’s often the case, in the UK certainly that people might lose their jobs once they get to a certain age – so good on them for continuing to employ someone who’s 81.
So that’s a little round-up of the news this week – some serious news, some not so serious news. Quite a lot of different vocabulary for you. I hope that you find it useful. Don’t forget to visit our website – and have a look at our other podcasts and our courses. I’m working on other ideas for you at the moment – so send us your feedback. I’m always open to ideas from our listeners and I’d like to know what sorts of things would be helpful to you. So I’m listening for your feedback!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.