Today we have an English listening practice lesson about news in the UK. Listening to this podcast will improve your English listening and comprehension skills by immersing you in the language. Listening to the news in English is good for conversations, IELTS and TOEFL. In fact, it’s great listening practice, no matter what your objectives are!
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In today's video podcast, I'm going to talk through some articles of news in English. This is great English listening practice for you, especially if you've got IELTS tests or similar coming up. It's great vocabulary. So if you've ever learned French and you've listened to 'The News in Slow French', today it will be a little bit like that! It'll be 'The News in Slow English'. Happy listening!
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.
OK. So what are some of the new stories of the last week in the UK? Let's go through some of them and try to understand them some more.
So it was announced today that there will be eight new cities in the UK. This is to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth, the second. So one of the things that's happening in the UK this year is this Platinum Jubilee. So it is 70 years since Queen Elizabeth 'came to the throne'. She's been queen for 70 years and she's now 96. So she's been doing it for a long time. There are quite a lot of different celebrations going on in the UK at the moment.
We even get an extra day holiday, an extra bank holiday at the start of June in celebration of this. So today's announcement concerns eight towns in the UK that are to be made into cities. Some vocabulary, first of all, Platinum Jubilee? So a 'jubilee', J U B I L E E. That word means 'an anniversary' and it's usually an anniversary with a zero at the end. So it's one of the important ones. There are various types of jubilee. And same with wedding anniversaries, we tend to associate them either with precious gems or precious metals. So 'platinum', P L A T I N U M is a precious metal. And the 'Platinum' tells you that it's the 70th anniversary. If it was a Golden Jubilee, that would be a 50th anniversary. And if it was a Diamond Jubilee that would be a 60th anniversary? So this year it is Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee. Now these eight cities, it's not new cities. These are places that have existed as towns, but they're going to be made into cities. So a 'city', C I T Y is bigger than a town.
Just having a look at where these are. The new cities will be Colchester, Milton Keynes, and Doncaster in England. Wrexham in Wales, Dunfermline in Scotland, Bangor in Northern Ireland, Douglas on the Isle of Mann. So that's the little island in the middle of the sea between Ireland and the rest of the UK. And Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. So Stanley is to be made a city as well. That's just down by the coast of Argentina and British territory. So it's all very diplomatic, pretty much every part of the UK has been included. There are currently lots of frictions in the UK. There are people in Ireland and people in Scotland who might want to break away from the UK. So making sure they have a town made into a city, as part of this celebration is 'diplomatic' because that's how it needs to be at the moment.
OK. What else has been in the news? It has been announced that Boris Johnson will not face any more fines for the Downing Street Parties. So a 'fine', F I N E - that's when money is taken off you as a punishment, so you 'pay a fine' as a punishment.
So Boris has been in trouble with the Metropolitan Police over allegations that there were parties in Downing Street. Downing Street is the Prime Minister's headquarters in London. So it was said that during the lockdowns, there were times when the Prime Minister or members of his government team got together and were working together in the same room and they broke lockdown restrictions.
He has already been fined for an occasion, which was his birthday, 19th of June 2020, when apparently he was in Downing Street and lots of other people were too - working, so fair enough. But apparently there was a surprise birthday cake and people came to sing Happy Birthday to him, breaking the lockdown rules.
So Boris Johnson and some other ministers were fined, or members of his government, should I say, were fined. Our Leader of the Opposition - so that's the Labour Party - he's called Keir Starmer. He also has been in trouble over an 'alleged' - so we're not sure whether this is true or not, that's what 'alleged' means - but an 'alleged' time where he had beer and curry. So a beer and curry night with his Labour Party people. He is under investigation too. And he has said that if he's fined, then he will step down, so he will no longer be Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party. Understandably, people got very angry over the Downing Street Parties. It's really difficult. If you had a family member who was dying or you had a relative in an old people's home, or even just ordinary family members and friends who you couldn't see for many, many months, then people got really angry when they heard that the government was telling us all to do one thing, to live under a lockdown, and yet they were doing something different. So I understand that. But the news today was no more fines for Boris Johnson.
This scandal is also known as 'Partygate' sometimes. One of the things that we do in the English language, if something is a scandal, then we add the word 'gate', G A T E on the end. And this references the original 'Watergate Scandal' of the 1970s, which happened in Richard Nixon's Presidency in the U S. So if you hear a word with 'gate' added on the end, it means it's a 'scandal'.
What else is in the news? Well, there is also a story about monkeypox. So this is a bit worrying. So monkey pox, P O X. 'Pox' is an illness where you get all spotty and it varies in its seriousness. So smallpox is the most serious version and you die from that - right through to chickenpox, which most of us have had. 'Varicella' that one's called, I think, and most of us have had chicken pox when we were children. That's a quite harmless illness on the whole. So monkeypox is becoming more prevalent. That means 'more frequent', 'more common'.
So what is this monkey pox? It seems a bit worrying. We've only just got over COVID so we certainly don't want another pandemic. Apparently, there were nine cases last week in the UK, and now there are another 11. So clearly it's a problem that's growing. And it's related to smallpox. Well, given that smallpox is one of the world's terrible diseases and which we fortunately eradicated, we got rid of it in 1970.
Smallpox is a terrible illness - you usually die from small pox. Fortunately, it seems that monkey pox is not the same. It's a much milder illness. When we say a 'mild', M I L D illness, it means it's not very serious. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache, backache. So anything with 'ache', A C H E on the end means that it's uncomfortable. Part of you, it's a part of your body, which is sore. So if you've got a headache, your head feels sore. Swollen glands? You might have the glands up in your neck, chills and exhaustion. So 'exhaustion' is another word for 'fatigue' or feelings of 'tiredness'. Those are the symptoms. It's encouraging that smallpox vaccine apparently works 85% of the time against monkey pox, but most people will recover spontaneously.
That's good then. So it's not that serious, but the illness is spread through touch or 'contagion', through touching things or through coughs and sneezes as well. Let's hope monkeypox doesn't become the next big thing. We've had enough pandemics for a while, thank you very much.
Last news item today. And this one again is about the Johnson family.
So this time it's Boris Johnson's father, Stanley. Famously when Boris Johnson decided to back the Leave Campaign - so Boris Johnson backed Brexit, his father, Stanley said that he would vote 'Remain' and did vote 'Remain'. Since then he's changed his mind and he apparently said 'It's time to leave!'
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Well, now he's decided that he's a French citizen. So he's applied for French citizenship. Stanley Johnson was a Member of the European Parliament, between 1979 and 1984. So he's 'in the public eye' quite a bit because he himself used to be a politician. Boris Johnson's brother also was (!) A politician, Joe Johnson.
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So Stanley Johnson is now claiming French citizenship 'because his mother was French'. Speaking on Friday, he said he was "Very happy to once again, count himself a European Union member." So Stanley has been against Brexit, pro Brexit, and now he's an EU citizen again! His mother apparently was born in Versailles and he said "Her grandmother and all the family was there. So it's a very precious thing for me to reclaim a part of my identity." Nothing to do with the fact that it's somewhat easier to travel and remain in the EU, if you've got EU citizenship, than if you've got a British passport? I say "Make your mind up, Stanley, which way are you going on this?!" Obviously, it's nice to have both, isn't it? Nice for some people to have the choice?
OK. That's the end of the news for today. If you would like to brush up on your basic English vocabulary - people find that they need to do this when they want to move from just understanding the language to speaking it, it's often great to brush up on English vocabulary basics. Then our 500 Most Common Words Course would be a great thing for you to listen to. That course is available on our website at adeptenglish.com.
Hope you enjoyed listening to the 'News in Slow English' today!
Enough for now, have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.