Lessons in the "2017" Category

Manchester attack: 22 dead at Ariana Grande concert

Last night, at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena, pandemonium broke out, when a bomb went off at the end of the concert. The audience was just beginning to leave the arena, when the lone terrorist struck.

Many people were killed, with countless others injured, caused by the terrorist’s nail bomb going off. Concert-goers said there was a massive explosion, with nuts and bolts littering the ground. Panic then followed, with people fleeing.

So far, 22 people have died, including several children. A total of 119 people were injured, some critically. The bomber was instantly killed. People who were at the concert said security did not check bags at the Arena.

The Millennium Snowflake or Generation Snowflake

Today, let’s talk about the Millennium Snowflake or Generation Snowflake. These phrases refer to the current young generation. They are used to characterise young people of the 2010s, who, it appears, are more prone to taking offence than their peers.

Snowflakes are said to be less resilient than previous generations. They can be emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own thinking. Snowflakes are said to be delicate and unique. They are furiously intolerant of those who dare to challenge them. To be fair, the term Generation Snowflake is a bit derogatory. It originated in the United States. Snowflake Generation is a slang term that made the Collins Dictionary 2016 edition.

NHS in the UK held to ransom by ransomware

Last week, in the UK, the NHS (National Health Service) was held to ransom by malware stolen from the NSA (National Security Agency), in America. The Nissan car plant in Sunderland was also hit by the hackers.

The virus was unleashed across the world and spread at unprecedented speed. So far, more than 99 countries have been affected, with more than 57,000 victims. The virus, known as WannaCry, and variants of that name, has spread itself across the world, using email.

The ransomware software encrypts files. It then asks for a digital ransom of US$300, to be paid by Bitcoin, before control is safely returned.

Junker: English is losing its importance in Europe. Is it true?

Last week, the President of the European Union, Jean Claude Juncker, said English is losing its importance in Europe. He made the remark, at a meeting of European diplomats and experts in Florence, Italy. Is it true?

Junker said, “Slowly but surely, English is losing importance in Europe. The French will have elections on Sunday, and I would like them to understand what I am saying.” He then switched into French for the rest of his speech. Whilst this might have been done to please the French voters ahead of the election, it is a fair point he raises, and to debate now.

Prince Philip to retire

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, is to retire from public engagements from the autumn of this year. The announcement was made at Buckingham Palace yesterday.

When someone said to the Duke, who is 95, “I’m sorry to hear you’re standing down, sir,” he replied, in his typically humorous way, “Well, I can’t stand up much longer!”

The decision was made by Prince Philip himself. Her Majesty the Queen has given her husband her ‘full support’ to step down. He will be 96 in June.

May Day celebrations in Europe

Today, let’s talk about how May Day is celebrated in some parts of Europe. For many, it is a traditional workers' holiday.

In Greece, one of the more popular activities on May Day is fire jumping. This is done after the sun sets. Women dance around the lit fire. The children wet their clothes and hair, before jumping over the fire. It is a symbolic act, to keep away winter and disease. Another popular tradition is picking flowers, and creating a May Day wreath, to hang on their doors. It is meant to bring people closer to nature.

In France, May Day is really a day off for its workers. French people like to give family and friends little sprigs, bouquets, or even whole plants of lily of the valley, for good luck. The more bell-like the flower, the better the luck.

UK to hold General Election on June 8

British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced there will be a general election in the UK on June 8. Her decision to hold a snap election comes after she repeatedly claimed she was initially against the idea. She said that her change of mind is because opposition parties, and unelected peers in the House of Lords, were jeopardising her government’s preparations for Brexit.

The Prime Minister said, “We need a general election, and we need one now.” She added, “I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion. But now, I have concluded, it is the only way to guarantee certainty for the years ahead.”

The United Airlines fiasco: Passenger dragged off flight

Today, we are going to talk about the extraordinary news story, of an airline passenger, who was dragged, yelling, off a United Airlines flight in America. Three other passengers, on flight 3411 from Chicago, were also ejected, so four-crew could take their seats, to connect them onto other flights.

Dr David Dao, 69, was forcibly ejected from the plane he was on, in Chicago. His crime? To book a seat with United Airlines, sit in it, and expect them to honour its side of the contract. When no one agreed to give up their seats, four passengers were randomly selected to be removed.

Doors

Today’s English lesson, about doors, is inspired by one of my students, who happened to be looking at a door, when asked for a topic of conversation.

You’d be surprised what you can say about doors. For starters, there are several different shapes of door. Most doors are rectangular. Some are double-opening doors. They can be made of glass, wood, wood panelling, plastic, or uPVC. A good joiner can make a handmade door, though, many doors today are manufactured in a factory. There are also aluminium and steel doors. Wooden doors can be painted, stained or polished.