Study: Do Fitness Trackers Help You Lose Weight?

October 03, 2016 from VOA
Study: Do Fitness Trackers Help You Lose Weight?

 From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

We begin with bad news for people who bought a wearable fitness tracker in hopes of losing weight.

A new study finds the electronic device probably does not help with weight loss.

The study was a project of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

Fitness trackers are designed to record your physical activity. They are usually worn around the wrist, where they measure a person’s heart rate.

The University of Pittsburgh research team looked at two groups of individuals. The first wore a fitness tracker and took part in health counseling. In other words, they spoke with nutrition and physical fitness experts to consider the best weight loss plan.

The researchers compared this group with people who only took part in health counseling.

The study found that those who simply had health counseling lost more weight than those who had counseling and wore a fitness tracker. In fact, those who only spoke with the health experts lost nearly six kilograms. Those who used a fitness tracker lost only 3.5 kilograms.

John Jakicic is the lead researcher. He is also chairman of the university’s Department of Health and Physical Activity. He questioned the use of electronic devices as tools for weight control in place of “effective behavioral counseling for physical activity and diet.”

The study involved 470 subjects between the ages of 18 and 35. Some of them were overweight, while others were heavier and considered obese. Over three fourths of the subjects were women, and 29 percent were minorities.

The researchers told all the subjects to increase their physical activity. The men and women also were told to start on a low calorie diet.

The subjects were told to have their weight measured once every six months over the two-year study.

After six months, researchers divided the group into two parts: one continued with monthly counseling, while members of the other group were given a wearable fitness tracker.

Eighteen months later, both groups "showed significant improvements in body composition, fitness, physical activity, and diet,” with no major difference between groups.

However, when it came to losing weight, the people who spoke with experts lost nearly twice as much weight.

Jakicic said the study’s findings “are important because effective long-term treatments are needed to address America's obesity epidemic.” He warned that “questions remain regarding the effectiveness of wearable devices.”

More information is needed, he adds, to learn how to best use these devices to change “physical activity and diet behaviors” in adults who want to lose weight.

The researchers published their findings in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

I’m Anna Matteo.


Matthew Hilburn reported this story for VOANews.com. Anna Matteo adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

fitness ­– n. the quality or state of being fit

tracker – n. a device that is aware of a fact, progression or condition

counseling – n. advice and support that is given to people to help them deal with problems, make important decisions, etc.

calorie – n. a unit of heat used to indicate the amount of energy that foods will produce in the human body

composition – n. the way in which something is put together or arranged : the combination of parts or elements that make up something

journal – n. a magazine that reports on things of special interest to a particular group of people


Scientists Explore Underwater Volcanoes

October 02, 2016 from VOA  
Scientists Explore Underwater Volcanoes

What covers nearly 29 million square kilometers of this planet beneath the sea?

The answer is seamounts.

Seamounts are mountains, usually volcanoes, that rise up from the sea floor. Some of the volcanoes are ancient, some are still active. But they are hard to find because they do not reach the surface of the water.

Scientists say seamounts cover more of the earth’s area than deserts, tundra, or any other land-based habitats. Marine life gathers at seamounts because they carry nutrient-rich water upward from the sea floor.

In September, a group of scientists set out to explore Cook Seamount. It rises almost 4,000 meters from the Pacific Ocean floor about 160 kilometers off the island of Hawaii. Humans have never seen it up close before.

The Associated Press went with the scientists, and provided exclusive images and information about this seamount and the marine life around it.

"Pisces V surface you're going in. Roger, going in."

Three people went in a submarine down to over 900 meters below the ocean surface to the top of the seamount. As the blue waters became darker, underwater creatures that glow, by chemically creating their own light, began to swim past the submarine.

The scientists dove below the level where sunlight can reach.

They spotted some wonders-- like a rare octopus with big fins that look like elephant ears. One even changed colors as it swam by the submarine.

The scientists also found several kinds of deep sea corals on the seamount’s sides. These included a possible new species of violet-colored coral they named “Purple Haze.”

Conservation International and the University of Hawaii worked together for the trip to Cook Seamount.

Greg Stone is the lead scientist with Conservation International. He spoke to AP news service on the ship.

“This three day expedition is the start of an effort to survey seamounts throughout the Pacific Ocean over the next five years. And we hope to study a total of 50 seamounts.”

He said humans know very little about seamounts, but they are a “key part” of what drives the ocean. Stone said he wants to find out what is living on the seamounts and how they support ocean life.

“From that, we will understand ocean health, and ocean health relates directly to human health.”

M. Sanjayan is Executive Vice President of Conservation International. He told AP that there are “10,000, maybe 100,000” seamounts across the world’s oceans. He called them “hotspots for marine diversity,” and because most have not been explored, he expects that they will see things new to science when they get there.

Sonia Rowley is a researcher at the University of Hawaii who is taking part in the project. She will be studying the samples taken from Cook seamount.
University of Hawaii researcher Sonia Rowley logs coral samples taken from deep ocean seamounts during an expedition to unexplored underwater volcanoes off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island on Sept. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)
University of Hawaii researcher Sonia Rowley logs coral samples taken from deep ocean seamounts during an expedition to unexplored underwater volcanoes off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island on Sept. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

“They were really magnificent actually, there were these huge structures that were going like tens of hundreds of meters high, and then on the edges they were kind of encrusted in many places with this beautiful purple Gorgonian sea fan.”

Cook seamount is an extinct volcano, which means it is not active anymore. It is part of a group of undersea volcanoes known as the Geologist Seamounts, that are about 80 million years old and could hold many new animal species. They could also contain elements such as nickel and cobalt that mining companies could extract.

One of the other two seamounts studied on their trip was Lo'ihi, an active volcano.

Lo'Ihi has been studied by manned submersibles over the past 30 years.

The scientists saw an “old friend” on Lo’Ihi—a shark they had seen there before. They also saw a two-meter long eel and a number of new geological formations around the volcano’s crater.

Scientists say Lo'ihi could someday be the newest island in the Hawaii chain as volcanic activity pushes the seamount upward. But do not look for it to break the surface of the water any time soon. Estimates are that it will not be for tens of thousands of years, if ever.

I’m Anne Ball.

Caleb Jones of The Associated Press wrote the exclusive report. Anne Ball adapted his story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section, and find us on our Facebook page.



Words in This Story

exclusive –adj. not available anywhere else

habitat –n. a kind of place where certain kinds of animals and plants live and grow

marine –adj. having to do with the sea

virtually –adv. through digital technology rather than physically

encrusted –adj. covered, overgrown

crater –n. a round hole at the top of a volcano or caused by the impact of a meteorite


Meltwater Lakes in Antarctica Show Signs of Trouble

October 01, 2016 from VOA  
Meltwater Lakes in Antarctica Show Signs of Trouble

Antarctica is home to the largest ice mass on Earth.

The continent sits on 14 million square kilometers of rock. About 98 percent of the land surface is covered by ice.

Beautiful lakes have begun to appear on the top of the ice. They look like islands of deep blue in an ocean of white. These lakes are called supraglacial or meltwater lakes.

Although the lakes can be beautiful, the ones scientists studied are a sign of trouble. Amber Leeson is a scientist with Lancaster University in England.

"We really weren't expecting to find lakes as far inland as 20 kilometers, which was the furthest inland lake we found during the study. And it was important that we found the link between the atmospheric temperature and the depth, number, and size of the lakes..."

Scientists say Antarctica has always had supraglacial lakes appearing on the ice during the summer months. But the more lakes there are, the more unstable they make the continent’s ice shelf.

Ice shelves are permanent, but floating pieces of ice that connect to the land. They form where a glacier or ice sheet reaches a coastline and into the sea.

Leeson says water from the lakes can drip down through the glacier, causing the huge river of ice and snow to weaken.

"If they form on the grounded ice, which is the bit of the ice sheet that sits on the bedrock, then the water they contain can drain away through the ice to the base, where it can lubricate the flow of the ice and make it flow a bit faster. If they form on the floating part of the ice, which is where the ice shelf extends over the ocean and begins to float on the sea, by repeatedly filling and draining they can actually weaken the ice shelf."

Leeson and other scientists believe that lakes are partly responsible for the collapse of the Antarctica ice sheets.

"...the Larsen B ice shelf collapsed in 2002 and we think that this is because it was covered in lakes in the years prior to collapse, and that by repeatedly filling and draining, they weaken the ice sheet, leading to its eventual disintegration..."

 And as temperatures rise, the team expects to see more and more lakes appearing in the continent. The scientists fear that all that meltwater could raise the world's sea levels.

I’m Marsha James.

Marsha James wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Her story includes information from an Associated Press report. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

ice mass - n. a large piece of ice

supraglacial lake – n. any pond of liquid water on the top of a glacier

ice sheet – n. a very large and thick area of ice that covers a region

ice shelf – n. a floating sheet of ice permanently attached to a land mass

glacier – n. an large areas of ice formed from falling snow and building up over the years


US Brings Legal Action Against Chinese Company for North Korea Ties

2016-10-01 from VOA
US Brings Legal Action Against Chinese Company for North Korea Ties

The United States announced criminal charges and economic sanctions against four Chinese individuals and a Chinese company earlier this week.

The U.S. government said it acted to punish them for suspected support for North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

On Wednesday, a State Department official suggested that more Chinese companies and individuals could face investigation for suspected violations of sanctions on North Korea.

The State Department’s coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Daniel Fried, spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee.

He said, “It would also be useful if Chinese banks and companies understood that increasingly dealing with North Korean companies, especially those that are sanctioned, is going to be risky.”

Two days earlier, the Treasury Department announced criminal charges and economic actions against a Chinese seller of industrial machinery. It named four top officials of Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Developmental Company Limited (DHID).

The four include the company’s chairwoman, Ma Xiaohong. They are accused of plotting to avoid sanctions against North Korea, and using American financial businesses to hide the money they earned illegally.

Chinese officials also are investigating the company. They are looking at its connection with the Kwangson Banking Corporation, a North Korean bank. U.S. and United Nations have said the bank has provided financial services in support of North Korea’s weapons programs.

A State Department officials said, “This shows we can work cooperatively with China; we both see it in our interests to apply greater pressure on North Korea.”

On Tuesday, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official spoke to reporters about the U.S. action. Spokesman Geng Shuang said China was prepared to support U.N. resolutions against North Korea. The resolutions call for sanctions to punish the North for its nuclear and missile tests.

However, the spokesman expressed opposition to other countries using their own laws against companies or people within China.

“I want to stress that we oppose any country enacting so-called ‘long-arm jurisdiction,’ using its own domestic laws against a Chinese entity or individual,” he said.

In March, China agreed to the strongest U.N. Security Council sanctions yet to limit trade with North Korea.

The council's members have approved other actions to punish the country for its nuclear activities and missile program. Those restrictions have largely halted North Korean trade with countries other than China.

North Korea has faced severe international sanctions to punish the country for its nuclear activity and missile program.

Those restrictions have largely halted North Korean trade with countries other than China.

However, new research suggests that North Korean state-operated businesses are using middlemen in China to avoid sanctions.

I’m Mario Ritter.

This story was written from reports by Pete Cobus and Nike Ching for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

entity –n. a legal business or organization, something that exists by itself and is separate from other things

middlemen –n. people who buy goods from a producer and sell them to someone else


New Tech Tools Might Help Americans Choose a President

2016-09-30 from VOA
New Tech Tools Might Help Americans Choose a President

Six weeks remain until elections in the United States. Yet many Americans say they still do not know who they want as president.

Now, there are some new tech tools that might help them decide. Startup businesses are creating products that try to change behavior and increase political activity.

Brigade is one of those startups. The California-based company runs a social media site and mobile app. It did not even exist in 2012, when the U.S. held its last presidential election.

Brigade is a platform for debating and deciding political positions. Users can follow the political issues that interest them, such as gun rights, immigration or the environment.

Matt Mahan was a creator of Brigade and now serves as its chief executive officer. He says a few problems need to be solved to increase American civic involvement.

“We need to give people easy access to the information they need to make decisions, but we also need to embed that within their social lives, we need to make it part of the conversations they’re having with friends, and we need to create cultural norms around participating."

Brigade lets users debate issues and try to influence other people online. Users can also see how their opinions compare with other users as well as political candidates.

"I think that's kind of the point of democracy -- is to create this public square where people can discuss and debate their values, and their perspectives on issues and, ultimately, create trade-offs and come to a conclusion about what's the best way to move forward to kind of create the greatest good for the most people."

Crowdpac is another politically-minded technology company. It also did not exist at the time of the 2012 presidential election.

Gisel Kordestani is Crowdpac’s chief operations officer. The company is, in her words, “using technology to try to help the average citizen to connect and engage in politics.”

The Crowdpac website describes itself as the first crowdfunding site designed for politics. It provides information about individuals seeking public office. It also helps users find and support the candidates who share their opinions. And, it helps those running for office raise money. It does this through crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the activity of raising money through small donations from a lot of people. Generally, crowdfunding takes place on the Internet.

Kordestani said technology companies are changing how Americans take part in politics by creating new ways for political participation. That is why, she thinks, politicians should look to Silicon Valley, America’s technology center.

“This region has just grown over the last four decades, has grown into not a powerhouse just in the U.S. but globally, in setting the technology, the platforms and the rules of engagement of society, for work, for the environment, globally.”

Kordestani said many tech companies in Silicon Valley also recognize the importance of working with politicians and the government to create positive changes.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Elizabeth Lee reported on this story for VOANews.com. George Grow adapted this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

startup – n. a new business

mobile – adj. able to move from one place to another

access – n. a way of getting at or close to something or someone

embed – v. to set or place firmly in something else

conversation – n. a talk or discussion

participate – v. to be involved with others in doing something

crowdfunding – n. the act of seeking donations from a large number of people, especially on social media or through a website

globally – adj. of or related to the whole world

platform – n. a structure where people or machines do work


David Titcomb: Transforming Classical Music at New York Orchestra

2016-09-29 from VOA
David Titcomb: Transforming Classical Music at New York Orchestra

That music is Symphony No. 2, known as the Resurrection Symphony. Austrian Gustav Mahler composed the piece in the late 1800s.

Classical musician David Titcomb feels strongly about the composer and his work.

“Mahler is just… It’s so evocative. It’s so emotional and maybe those are cheap thrills, but to me they are deep emotional works especially the Resurrection Symyphony.”

Music has filled Titcomb’s life from almost the start. An inspiring music teacher handed young David a trombone to play in elementary school. He could barely make a sound at that time. But, he stuck with it.

Titcomb studied music at the State University of New York, Purchase. He went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts degree at Yale University School of Music.

David Titcomb played the trombone professionally for more than thirty years. He says it was a difficult decision to stop playing and to do something else.

“When I had to decide to stop my career as a player and move on to just the organizing of an orchestra, it was my heart and soul to play in orchestras and after a 30 year career I think I had done my part and wanted to move aside, now I’m semi-retired I only play the trombone in my wife’s rock and roll band now, but for 30 years I was a member of the New York City Opera Orchestra and I also played very often with the Metropolitan Opera and various other freelance organizations and the New York City Ballet as well.”

Now, Titcomb is the Managing Director for the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York (PONY). The organization held its first performance last March. It hopes to bring new audiences to classical music. It aims to make performances higher tech and more affordable.

Titcomb praises the more than eighty orchestra musicians, describing them as among New York’s finest.

“The Philharmonia Orchestra of New York its comprised of many musicians who I have worked with over the last 30 years and many of them continue to work in the major companies at Lincoln Center including Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, New York City Opera and we came together shortly after the nuclear disaster and tsunami in Japan.”
Mahler Symphony No. 2 music is reflective of a project dear to David Titcomb’s heart.

David Titcomb has worked effortlessly along with PONY Principal Conductor Maestro Atsushi Yamada on bringing the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York and more than 100 choral students from Japan together to perform. The program is called Project Hand-in-Hand.

Project Hand in Hand aims to use performance to support disaster relief, cultural exchange, and education.

David Titcomb says it is a collaboration.

“With our good friend Atsushi Yamada whose our conductor who we worked with at New York City Opera back in the early 2000s and we started as the friends of Japan orchestra we played a concert actually it was Resurrection symphonies about a year after the disaster in northern Japan and we brought over 100 kids just to kind of show them that we were still paying attention and we wanted to give them some inspiration to continue to deal with their troubles and manage.”

The joint performance with the PONY musicians and Japanese high school choir also includes students from American universities.

Titcomb says the collaboration makes him happy.

“Bringing the kids over to play at Lincoln Center a lot of these kids have never been out of there prefecture let alone been on a jet into New York to perform at Lincoln Center. So seeing an orchestra of 90 players on the stage and making music together with a chorus of 200 that what makes me smile.”

Hand in Hand was created in response to the earthquake and tsumani in Japan. Earlier this year, Japan marked the 5th anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country in 2011. More than 18,000 people died or disappeared. The 9.0 magnitude quake struck offshore, creating a huge, powerful surge of water that rushed inland. Whole towns were destroyed in moments. And, the tsunami caused a major failure at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The result was the worst nuclear disaster the world had ever seen.

More than 150,000 people were forced to leave their homes. Many have not been able to return because of radiation danger.

David says just like the Resurrection Symphony No. 2 by Mahler the music starts dark and has feelings of loss and by the end of the symphony, it is a triumph resurrection and things are reborn. This is the hope David Titcomb and PONY have for the victims of the 2011 disaster in Japan.

I’m Marsha James.

Marsha James wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Try this video quiz to test your understanding of the story.

Words In This Story

evocative adj. bringing thoughts, memories or feelings into the mind

thrill – n. a feeling of great excitement or happiness

resurrection – n. the act of causing something that had ended or been forgotten or lost to exist again

symphony – n. a long piece of music that is usually in four large, separate sections and that is performed by an orchestra

semi-retired – adj. working only part time at a career or job because you have reached the age at which you no longer need to work full-time

freelance – adj. working for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company

comprise – v. to be made up of something

triumph – n. a great or important victory

reborn – adj. brought back to life


American College Students Know Little of World Events

September 27, 2016 from VOA  
American College Students Know Little of World Events

Young people in the United States do not have a strong understanding of the world and their place in it.

Two U.S.-based groups, the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Geographic Society, commissioned an online survey earlier this year. They wanted to know what young people educated in American colleges knew about geography, U.S. foreign policy, recent international events, and economics.

In general, the results were not very good.

The bad news

The survey was given to over 1,200 Americans between the ages of 18 and 26 years. All of them currently attend, or formerly attended, a 2- or 4-year college or university.

The average test score, out of 75 total possible answers, was 55 percent.

The study identifies a few important questions that American students did not know about their own country.

For example, less than 30 percent knew that a treaty requires the United States to protect Japan if it is attacked. Only 30 percent knew that the only part of the U.S. government that can declare war is Congress.

The online survey produced findings that are similar to the findings of other recent studies.

The Internet

Part of the problem, say the organizers of the survey, is the Internet. They say it is becoming harder to get good information about what is happening in the world today.

Susan Goldberg is with the National Geographic Society. She says people never have to see anything that differs from their understanding of the world; many get their news from a newsfeed.

Forty-three percent of those questioned said they read about national and international news on Facebook.

Another problem is that classes do not require students to learn about international issues. That is the opinion of Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations.

"The problem is schools do not require that students take these courses to graduate," he said. "There is a fundamental difference between offering a course and requiring it."

If such information is not required, Haass said, then the United States could have leaders like Gary Johnson. Johnson is the presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party. He did not know about the Syrian city of Aleppo when a reporter asked him about it.

The good news

The survey results were not all bad. The young people who were questioned demonstrated a good understanding of climate change and renewable energy.

Even if the young people failed to understand many of the questions, the majority of them said that international issues were becoming more important to them.

Only two percent said that knowledge of foreign or non-U.S. cultures was not important. One percent said knowledge of world events was not important.

Haass says these findings suggest the need to find ways to get good information to students, both in school and online. To help, the Council on Foreign Relations is creating a new program called CFR Campus, designed to help build knowledge about global issues.

I’m John Russell.

Kevin Enochs wrote this story for VOA News. John Russell adapted this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.


Words in This Story

survey – n. an activity in which many people are asked a question or a series of questions in order to gather information about what most people do or think about something

commission – v. to order or request (something) to be made or done

newsfeed – n. An electronic transmission of news, as from a broadcaster or an Internet newsgroup

online – adj. connected to a computer or the internet


Health Experts Warn of Overuse of Antimicrobials

Health Experts Warn of Overuse of Antimicrobials

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

For today’s report, we talk about the dangers, not of an illness, but of medicines -- antimicrobial medicines. Health experts are more and more concerned about the overuse of antimicrobials. A growing number of bacteria and other disease-causing organisms are developing resistance to these drugs.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the growing resistance is a threat to people and animals alike.

The FAO recently noted an "increased use and abuse of antimicrobial medicines in both human and animal healthcare." It said their use and abuse has led to a growing number of disease-causing microbes that are resistant to traditional medicines.

FAO officials say this can be seen, for example, in multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. The problem is so serious that U.N. officials called a high-level meeting to consider the dangers of antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance is also called AMR.

But just how widespread is antimicrobial use?

“We don't really know how much of the antimicrobials, including antibiotics, are being used in food and agriculture.”

Juan Lubroth is an expert on animal health. He serves as the Chief Veterinary Officer for the FAO. He says there are many unanswered questions about the manufacturing and marketing of antimicrobial drugs.

“In fact, we don't really know how much is being made. Who is buying? Who is selling? How much is the international traffic, either as drugs ready to be used or the active ingredient inside a drug that is then formulated someplace else?”

Doctor Lubroth says the overuse of antibiotics involves everything: humans, animals and agriculture get caught in what he calls a cycle of disease transmission.

“We can get sick. They can get sick. They can die. They need the antibiotics to be given in a proper way so they can recover. So, it's not only about food and agriculture. It's also about our dogs and cats, our mascots.”

Misuse of antimicrobials includes failing to follow directions and possibly taking someone else’s medicine. Lubroth admits that even he has misused antibiotics.

“Even I'm guilty. My physician may have given me antibiotics to take for the course of a week, seven days, and I stopped at day six. Well, that's bad. That's not good. That's a misuse of the antibiotics.”

Failure to follow directions when taking medicine is one way germs can develop a resistance to a drug.

The FAO says that antimicrobial medicines are critical in the treatment of farm animals and plants. "Their use," it says, "is essential to food security, human well-being and animal welfare."

Lubroth says the Food and Agriculture Organization has developed a four-part action plan for antimicrobial resistance.

“One is to create the awareness among the general public of the issue. Two would be to have the evidence. Have the surveillance in place that I can monitor when the antimicrobial resistance appears, and I report it in a timely fashion...”

The action plan calls for strengthening governmental agencies that deal with public health, food and agriculture. It also calls for sharing of information with each other and with medical experts.

Another part of the plan is to provide support for good practices in food and agricultural systems and the effective use of antimicrobials. Such drugs are often used in small amounts in animal feed to support growth. Once in farm animals, they become part of the food chain.

“I think that the consumers should be empowered to really push their governments or their food providers that they want safe food -- wholesome food. I think we can all agree on that. We may disagree on some of the specifics of how to get there, but I think that the consumer and the voice of the consumer has to be heard.”

Lubroth says "the long-term consequences of not being able to use an antimicrobials because of resistance” would be terrible. He adds that the medicines bring a "global public good to the planet."

I’m Anna Matteo.


Joe DeCapua wrote this report for VOANews.com. Anna Matteo adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

mascot – n. a person, animal, or object used as a symbol to represent a group (such as a sports team) and to bring good luck

consequence – n. something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions

food chain – n. a series of types of living things in which each one uses the next lower member of the series as a source of food

empowered – v. to give power to (someone)

veterinary – adj. relating to the medical care and treatment of animals

ingredient – n. one of the things that are used to make a food, product, etc.

formulate to create, invent, or produce (something) by careful thought and effort

cycle – n. a recurring series of events: as

transmission – n. the act or process by which something is spread or passed from one person or thing to another

awareness – n. the state of knowing that something (such as a situation, condition, or problem) exists

surveillance – medical n. close and continuous observation or testing

fashion – n. manner or way of doing something


シリア危機 露には停戦実現の責任がある

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Russia responsible for prevailing on Syrian govt to honor ceasefire
シリア危機 露には停戦実現の責任がある

A ceasefire in the civil war between Syrian President Bashar Assad’s administration and rebel forces is on the brink of collapse just one week after the agreement, mediated by the United States and Russia, took effect. This is a serious situation.

The Assad administration, which is supported by Russia, unilaterally announced the end of the truce and resumed an offensive, claiming that its foes did not observe the agreement. The announcement was apparently prompted in part by suspicions that the United States had bombed Syrian government forces by mistake following the ceasefire.

We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that a convoy carrying food and medicine was attacked from the air on the outskirts of Aleppo, northern Syria. The attack forced the United Nations to suspend aid shipments.

Roads leading to some sections of Aleppo remain sealed off as government forces besiege them, and hundreds of thousands of residents are isolated and facing air raids and starvation. Didn’t the United States and Russia hurry to reach a ceasefire so as to deliver aid supplies safely and avert a humanitarian crisis?

The United Nations and other parties concerned naturally condemned the airstrike, describing it as a “flagrant violation” of international law. The United States and Russia have engaged in a mud-slinging battle, with Washington claiming the attack was carried out by Russian or Syrian government aircraft and calling for the perpetrators to be held responsible, while Moscow denied culpability.

The two countries also played a leading role in bringing about a truce in February, which lasted only a few months. The Assad administration and rebel groups were supposed to hold peace talks to establish a transitional government by August, but the plan fell through.

Don’t maintain status quo

The United States aims at ousting the Assad administration as quickly as possible and forming a new government. Ending the Syrian civil war, which has continued for five years, would allow the international community to focus on defeating the Islamic State of the Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militant group. It also would serve to help resolve the refugee crisis. We consider this a reasonable approach.

However, Russia’s stance poses a problem.

It places top priority on maintaining the Assad administration, which has been said to have used chemical weapons, and seizing the initiative on the Syrian situation from the United States. Moscow intervened militarily in Syria a year ago on the pretext of eradicating ISIL, and it has carried out airstrikes and other attacks to help government forces come from behind and take the offensive.

Russia has the responsibility and influence to press government forces to observe the ceasefire. It is not acceptable for Moscow to try to maintain the status quo by exploiting the fact that U.S. President Barack Obama has only four months left before leaving office.

Syria faces an increasingly complex situation in its civil war. Neighboring Turkey has sent tanks across the common border in an effort to prevent the forces of the Kurdish minority, which Ankara regards as a foe, from expanding the areas it controls. An Iranian contingent, meanwhile, is also helping government forces in the civil war. These countries should exercise self-restraint.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan would provide about $1.13 billion in aid for residents in Syria and its neighbors. We hope that Japan will continue its efforts to establish conditions to resolve the Syria crisis by making nonmilitary contributions.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 25, 2016)


難民と世界 もっと支援に本腰を

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 23
EDITORIAL: Japan must step up commitment to assisting the world’s refugees
(社説)難民と世界 もっと支援に本腰を

Imagine that half of all Japanese were driven from their homes--that comparison could be one way to help envisage the sheer extent of the crisis.

The number of forcibly displaced people around the world has reached 65 million, a record high after World War II.

Apart from refugees fleeing from persecution and war, there is also a rapid spread in the flow of migrants moving to other countries in quest of better lives.

A summit was held recently at the United Nations to seek international cooperation on measures to deal with this urgent issue.

The outflow of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other countries, which are embroiled in civil wars with no end in sight, is particularly serious. The global community must strengthen their efforts to achieve cease-fires and, at the same time, turn their attention before anything else to nations adjacent to those countries, which are suffering under the burden of hosting the refugees.

Lebanon has accepted more than 1 million Syrian refugees, whereas 2.5 million people have taken shelter in Turkey. These and other countries are giving out silent screams saying that they cannot sustain more.

It stands to reason that a declaration, which was unanimously adopted at the summit, referred explicitly to a “more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility.” In this age, wherein people migrate on a global scale, the issue of refugees and migrants has direct consequences for politics and the economy of the world. The burden should be shared by the entire international community, irrespective of the distance from conflict zones.

How, then, should respective countries share it? The fact that no specific figures or deadlines were included in the declaration has left a major task unfinished.

In the backdrop of the indecisive attitude is a rise in exclusionary sentiment, which is derived from a fear of terrorism and anxiety about jobs being snatched away. Politicians and political parties that make similar arguments are gaining momentum in recent years in Western countries.

But that sort of exclusionist reproach is often an act of shifting the blame on others by exploiting the anger of the public toward a broad array of social problems, including wealth disparity. In the long run, refugees and migrants have brought no small benefit and vitality to their host countries.

Representatives of managers’ and workers’ groups said during the summit conference that accepting migrants and refugees in an orderly manner invigorates the economy. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has also pointed out that doing so has a positive long-term impact on the economy. National governments should properly explain to their respective public about that positive aspect of accepting refugees and migrants.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during the summit that Japan will provide about 280 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in a package to assist host countries and accept 150 Syrian students.

But there is no change in the fact that Japan is accepting significantly fewer refugees than many other countries, a reality that is drawing international criticism.

A growing number of businesses are hiring refugees, and an increasing number of individuals are making donations to groups assisting refugees, in Japan in recent years.

The government of Japan should also broaden its range of actions and open its doors more boldly to the rest of the world in aspiring to be a country that sufficiently fulfills its responsibilities.





[ はじめに ]

[ 名前 ]
松井 清 (スラチャイ)

[ 略歴 ]
・99/10 タイ全土を旅行
・00/10 タイに移住
・03/07 カイちゃん誕生
・07/06 シーファーちゃん誕生

[ 座右の銘 ]
Slow and steady wins the race.

[ 学習の手引き ]
・Think in English.

[ English Newspapers ]
Japan Times
Washington Post
Newyork Times
Bangkok Post
The Nations
Phuket Gazette

[ 英字新聞の英和対訳学習 ]

[ スラチャイ編集の辞書 ]

[ 英字新聞リンク ]
ocn cafe


[ 32レッドカジノ ]

[ online casino ]

[ 32red casino mobile ]
for iPhone, Android
Roulette Game
Blackjack Game
Slots Game

[ my favorite way ]
Earning some money on the commuting train is fantastic.
roulette game

[ 32red casino iPhone & Android ]
Mermaids Millions
Royal Derby
Tomb Raider
Blackjack Game
Major Millions

Tomb Raider iTunes App
Blackjack iTunes App
Roulette Game
Android & iPhone Direct Registration

[ sellection for mobile ]
32Red Web App (iPhone & Android) Casino - Homepage

[ 32red download for PC ]

[ online casino for PC ]
Online Slots

[ zipang casino ]
in english

seesaa100 英字新聞s HPs





01 あいさつ
02 別れのあいさつ
03 声をかけるとき
04 感謝の言葉と答え方
05 謝罪の言葉と答え方
06 聞き直すとき
07 相手の言うことがわからないとき
08 うまく言えないとき
09 一般的なあいづち
10 よくわからないときの返事
11 強めのあいづち
12 自分について述べるとき
13 相手のことを尋ねるとき
14 頼みごとをするとき
15 申し出・依頼を断るとき
16 許可を求めるとき
17 説明してもらうとき
18 確認を求めるとき
19 状況を知りたいとき
20 値段の尋ね方と断り方
21 急いでもらいたいとき
22 待ってもらいたいとき
23 日時・場所・天候を尋ねるとき
24 その他

01 あいさつ
02 別れのあいさつ
03 声をかけるとき
04 感謝の言葉と答え方
05 謝罪の言葉と答え方
06 聞き直すとき
07 相手の言うことがわからないとき
08 うまく言えないとき
09 一般的なあいづち
10 よくわからないときの返事
11 強めのあいづち
12 自分について述べるとき
13 相手のことを尋ねるとき
14 頼みごとをするとき
15 申し出・依頼を断るとき
16 許可を求めるとき
17 説明してもらうとき
18 確認を求めるとき
19 状況を知りたいとき
20 値段の尋ね方と断り方
21 急いでもらいたいとき
22 待ってもらいたいとき
23 日時・場所・天候を尋ねるとき
24 その他

01 雨の日にも傘をささないタイ人
02 勉強熱心なタイ人女性たち
03 タイ人は敬謙な仏教徒
04 タイの市場
05 タイの食堂
06 タイ人は外食が大好き
07 果物王国タイランド
08 タイ人の誕生日
09 タイの電話代は高い
10 微笑みの国タイランド



[ 英字新聞リンク ]
yahoo geolog

[ HPリンク ]
cocolog 家族のアルバム
fc2 家族のアルバム
Preliminary Japanese lessons for Thai students

  • ライブドアブログ