Lesson Archive

Zimbabwe ‘blood diamond’ trade talks collapse

Should Zimbabwe be allowed to resume diamond sales? That’s the question delegates from 70 countries at talks in Israel recently had to decide. The organisation that controls the international diamond trade failed to find an answer after allegations of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe’s mines.

Members of the watchdog, known as ‘the Kimberley Process’, said discussions had been ‘clouded’ by the arrest and imprisonment of a human rights activist. Farai Maguwu had alleged that forced labour, rape, torture and harassment were being used to develop Zimbabwe’s new lucrative Marange diamond mines.

Zimbabwe’s ability to export Kimberley certified diamonds – ‘the Kimberley Process’ - was suspended after the army seized control of Marange, allegedly massacring up to 200 miners two years ago. The country has accused the west of trying to hold back its economic development.

The diamonds from the Marange field could see the country become one of the world’s top six exporters of diamonds and generate US$1.7bn a year. But human rights groups want Zimbabwe to remain banned from selling “blood diamonds” - those which are used to fuel a conflict.

Category: Zimbabwe / Blood Damonds / Kimberley Process

General Knowledge Quiz - July 2010

Score 10 points for every correct answer – Score 5 points if half right! There are 12 rounds with 6 questions in each round. A total of 720 points!

Topics include:

  1. The UK
  2. European Geography
  3. Music
  4. Sport
  5. World History
  6. Film 1
  7. Europe
  8. Pot Luck
  9. The UK Today
  10. South East Asian Geography
  11. British History
  12. Film 2

Category: Quiz / General knowledge / ESL English

Brushing teeth halts heart disease

When was the last time you visited the dentist? How often do you brush your teeth? If your answer to the latter question is twice a day then this, according to dentists, is the right answer. People who fail to brush their teeth twice a day are putting themselves at risk of disease, say researchers.

A recent study in Scotland of more than 11,000 adults found those with poor oral hygiene had a 70% increased risk of heart disease compared with those who brushed their teeth twice a day. The British Medical Journal study backs previous work showing a link between gum disease and heart problems. But a charity said oral health was just one factor in good heart health.

It is known that inflammation in the body, including in the mouth and gums, has an important role in the build up of clogged arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. But this is the first time researchers have looked at whether the frequency of teeth brushing has any bearing on the risk of developing heart disease. If you don’t brush your teeth, your mouth can become infected with bacteria which can cause inflammation.

Category: Medical English / Dentists / Teeth

Russia begins to cut off gas to Belarus

Russia has begun to cut off gas supplies to its neighbour Belarus. On Monday it cut gas supplies by 15% amid claims Belarus owes ₤135m (US$200m) in unpaid bills. On Tuesday it cut the gas supply by another 15%. This follows Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s order on Monday to Russian gas monopoly Gazprom to cut supplies from Monday.

Russia has said the cuts will rise day by day to 85% if Belarus does not start paying off its debts, accrued when it failed to pay increased prices. This has raised fears in European countries in that deliveries to Europe might again be disrupted. Relations between Russia and Belarus have soured since they failed to agree on unified customs rules and Belarus gave refuge to ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Russia supplies a quarter of Europe’s gas needs. It uses Belarus, which borders European Union member Poland, as one of the key transit routes for oil and gas to the continent. Previous pricing disputes with Minsk led to oil supply cuts, with Poland, Lithuania and Germany being affected most. A similar standoff with Kiev halted Russian gas supplies across Ukraine for two weeks in January 2009. This left many Europeans without heating and fuel during a harsh winter.

Category: Energy / Belarus, Russia / Gas

Mind your manners guys on your first date

Going on a date tonight? Be it your first or fifth date most people would want to make a good impression. Wouldn’t you?

A recent survey published in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper said clicking your fingers at a waiter on a first date is faux pas. It was voted the rudest, attention-grabbing gesture - beating even drowning a dish in salt before even tasting it or getting drunk at the table. Other inappropriate acts which will insure the first date is the only date were licking the plate clean, burping & picking teeth with fingers.

The poll of 3,000 people was conducted by internet market research company www.onepoll.com. “There are basic rules of etiquette which should be adhered to when eating out – and they’re not hard to remember,” a spokesman said adding, “The majority of respondents only expect basic good manners from their dining companions – so burping, coughing, breaking wind and obscenities are definitely off the menu.” These are the manners of a pig.

Category: Lifestyle / Etiquette / Dating