Today we are just going to listen to a conversation about the UK news in English. We cover the main UK news headlines and talk about Boris, our PM, being kicked out. Sounds pretty simple stuff, right? But you should think of your brain as an amazing language learning muscle. A muscle that needs lots and lots of exercise! Adept English is your language learning gym!
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If you look up the definition of news in the dictionary, it isn't what you watch on TV.
⭐ Val Kilmer, Actor
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- Preparation: getting ready for something or making plans for an event or activity
- Muscles: body parts that help you move and do physical activities
- Opinion: what someone thinks or believes about a topic or situation
- Athlete: a person who is good at sports or physical activities and often competes in events
- Exceptionalism: the belief that a person or group is special and different from others, often in a positive way
- Chancellor: a high-ranking official in a government or university, often in charge of financial matters
- Endurance: the ability to keep doing something difficult for a long time without giving up
- Knighted: given a special title of honour by a king or queen, often called "Sir" or "Dame"
- Trafficked: moved or traded people illegally, often for forced labour or exploitation
- Foster: to take care of and provide a temporary home for a child who is not your own
- Inflation: a continuous increase in prices of goods and services, reducing the value of money
- State of emergency: a situation in which a government gives itself special powers to deal with a serious problem
- Fertilizers: substances added to soil to help plants grow
- Candidate: a person who is applying for a job or position, or competing in an election
- Domiciled: living in a particular place or country, often for legal or tax purposes
- Treasury: the government department responsible for managing a country's money and financial affairs
Hi there. Today let's do some slow news again. This is really good English listening practice for you. And while you're listening to interesting and topical news items, your brain will be learning, grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary. Great listening practice. This will help with your English language test preparation and your fluency. And we'll be talking about current affairs, current events - topical and interesting, with a bit of opinion, thrown in as well. Wonderful!
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
So one of the news items in the UK this week was about the athlete, Mo Farah.
An 'athlete', A T H L E T E - that means someone who is involved with sport and who specializes in having strength, speed or endurance. 'Endurance', E N D U R A N C E - that means you can keep going for a long time. You don't give up, you suffer, you carry on - that's 'endurance'. And Mo Farah is very well known around the world, but particularly so in the UK, because he has secured four Olympic gold medals for his running.
He runs in the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres. He's also well known these days as a marathon runner.
Now Mo Farah was born in Somalia and came to the UK, so the story went, to join his family in London. And for his achievements in Athletics, he has been recognized with honours. So those are the awards that the Queen gives out every year. He was recognized, first of all in 2013, he was given a CBE and in 2017, he was knighted. So he became 'Sir Mo Farah'.
But this week a documentary was released in which Mo Farah told his true story.
He described how his father was in fact, killed in Somalia, when he was just four years old. And at nine years old, he was trafficked. That means he was brought to the UK as a slave against his will. Child trafficking is a huge problem and often is hidden. So Mo Farah told how he was forced to work in London as a servant for a family.
And he was initially prevented from even going to school. He did go to school eventually. And he was noticed by his PE teacher for his talent, for his athletic talent. And this teacher eventually intervened and helped him move to be with a foster family. 'To foster' means to give a child a home.
'Mo Farah' isn't even his real name. He was born Hussein Abdi Kahin. So this revelation that he was 'trafficked' into the UK rather than coming to join, his father has sparked all kinds of discussions here about immigration, trafficking, illegal immigrants. So people who are here from other countries, but not legally.
And a new word has been invented 'exceptionalism'. I'll say that again, 'exceptionalism'. So that's E X C E P T I O N A L I S M. In the discussions about immigration, trafficking and illegal immigrants, where people 'make an exception' for someone like Mo Farah, because he's won gold medals for Great Britain, for example, we're calling this' exceptionalism'. The point being, if we only 'make exception' for immigrants who can offer us something in return that's perhaps opposite to the 'humanity and empathy for all' that, some believe in!
Before I go on with the news, just a reminder that if you're going on your summer holidays, if you're going to be away in July, August, or September, why not make sure that you can carry on your English language learning with Adept English by downloading some of our podcasts to your phone.
If you go to our website and you click on 'language courses', you need to page down, but you will find our podcast back catalog. And for a small fee, you can buy 50 or a 100 or 150 Adept English podcasts to listen to on your phone while you're away. You know, this is a good idea and it will help you continue your English language learning while you're on holiday.
Back to the news!
Some international news now. What's going on in Sri Lanka? Well, a 'state of emergency' was declared last week. After the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka for Singapore. This was following huge protests about the country's economic crisis.
Apologies. If you are Sri Lankan, I shall do my best with pronunciation. So why are the people protesting? Why has the Sri Lankan president been forced to flee? Well, protests started back in April. Inflation has been running at over 50%. That's not a sustainable situation.
'Inflation'? That's I N F L A T I O N - that's when the value of a currency keeps going down. And it means that when you come to buy something like a loaf of bread, it's constantly going up in price. So the loaf of bread might be a pound. Then it's two pounds. Then it's three pounds. Eventually it becomes unaffordable.
We're all suffering from rising prices at the moment. And we have what we call in the UK, our 'cost of living crisis'. I think the situation in Sri Lanka is far, far worse than that. Hence, people are protesting. They also have power cuts. There's not enough electricity. Fuel's running out. There's not enough food or medicine to go around. So it's a serious situation. The trains and the buses aren't running and schools are actually closed. So education has stopped. It's an economy out of control, which makes life really difficult for the ordinary people there.
Crop failures have resulted from a ban on fertilizers. Sri Lanka was hit very hard by the COVID 19 pandemic, because it relies quite a lot on its tourist industry and there was no tourism. There's also been mismanagement of the economy by the government. The country has huge debts that cannot be paid.
A photograph of a beautiful Sri Lankan beach. Improve your English language learning with a conversation in English about topics you are familiar with.
When president Rajapaksa fled, he promoted his Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe to be President. But last Wednesday he was forcibly removed by protestors. So currently there is what is known as a 'power vacuum' in Sri Lanka. There's no one leading the country, no one in leadership during this crisis. All of this leaves, the people in Sri Lanka, hungry, angry, frightened about the future. Let's hope that something more positive happens there soon.
Closer to home in UK news, we're hearing a lot about the Tory leadership election. So that is because dear Boris, Boris Johnson has stepped down.
We're all still reeling from his departure. He's actually still in number 10, but he's not really a Prime Minister in power anymore, and our focus is on the Conservative Party Leadership Election. So because Boris has stepped down, it doesn't mean that we have a General Election. What it means is the Conservative Party choose a new leader and then that leader becomes Prime Minister for the remainder of the term.
So the race started off with 11 candidates. A 'candidate', C A N D I D A T E - that's someone who puts themselves forward for something. So you might be a candidate for a job, a candidate in a job interview, or here we're using the word for an election. You put yourself forward and people vote on you.
I'll not talk about the 11 candidates because, all but five of them have been voted out already.
But what I'm finding really interesting about this is ' people of colour' is a term that's used primarily in the United States, but it's starting to be used here for people who are 'not white'.
In the final six, I was pleased to see that there were four women and three 'people of colour'. The 'people of colour' - Suella Braverman has Indian heritage, Rishi Sunak, well- known as our Chancellor during the COVID period, is also Indian. And then there is Kemi Badenoch, who was born in London to Nigerian parents. It's encouraging to see this 'righting of the balance'.
For far too long - and it's still the case - white middle-aged men have been primarily the people in power in government. There's a saying 'pale, male and stale', which is used to describe white middle-aged men.
Rishi Sunak is currently the front runner. And as I say, he's been Chancellor, so he's very well known, quite popular. He's sometimes known as 'dishy Rishi' because his appearance - he obviously takes a lot of time and trouble over his appearance. And he's been criticized for having a very rich wife, Akshata Murthy, who has avoided paying tax in the UK.
She's what's known as 'non-domiciled'. She's the daughter of an Indian billionaire. So it's actually quite a lot of tax. She's now agreed that this position of avoiding tax in the UK is 'incompatible with her husband's position'. And she will pay tax in the UK from now on. I'm glad to hear that. Apparently that's around another 20 million pounds annually for the Treasury. Oh, good!
So that's my news round-up for today. Listen to this podcast, a number of times until you understand all the words and then listen to it again so that you can experience what it's like to just be able to understand in English automatically. That's an important experience when you're learning a language.
Let us know whether you like this one, let us know whether you want more news.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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