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.
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.
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.
British Prime Minister, Theresa May, on Tuesday, signed the official letter needed, to give notice to leave the EU. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty allows a country to withdraw from the European Union. No country has ever done this before. It is a historic day for the UK.
The notification letter was presented to European Council President, Donald Tusk, on Wednesday 29th March. He said on Twitter, “After nine months the UK has delivered. #Brexit.” He went on to say, “There is no reason to pretend that this is a happy day, neither in Brussels nor in London. After all, most Europeans, including almost half the British voters, wish that we would stay together, not drift apart.” Many people in the UK, and throughout the EU itself, are against the UK leaving the EU.
London on Wednesday saw a terror attack unfold in the heart of Westminster. Four people were killed in the attack that took place outside the Houses of Parliament. One of the killed was a police officer. A Foreign Office Minister performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on him in the grounds of parliament.
Witnesses said that the attacker initially struck a number of people with a 4x4 vehicle, including three French schoolchildren, on the nearby Westminster Bridge. Other eyewitnesses said at least 12 people were injured. Many of them were children. People were jumping off the bridge into the river Thames, as that was their only hope of survival. People were seen fleeing the area.
There are many legends about the Knights Templar. The secretive religious sect have left behind many mysterious mysteries. They once held great power across Europe. So much so, that King Philip IV of France, who was in debt to them, and in fear of their power, literally forced them underground, having burnt many of their prominent members at the stake.
So it is interesting to hear about a mysterious 700-year-old cave that may have been used by the famous Knights Templar. The fascinating cave was discovered, a while back, behind a rabbit hole, in a field in Shropshire, England. Could this cave be a Holy Grail site? Did the Knights Templar really meet here, in secret?
Today, let’s talk about the tension that is rising, right across Europe, regarding immigration. Well, let’s face it, it is. What’s more, week by week, it’s getting worse, thanks to the EU, and Mrs Merkel, the German Chancellor.
Western governments are only too happy to hand out benefits to anyone, who makes it to these countries. Top of the immigrant’s list is the UK, closely followed by Germany, Sweden and Holland.
Why don’t these economic migrants go and live in Saudi Arabia, or other Middle Eastern countries, or African countries that were once their neighbours?
Why not go to Eastern Europe? Because no one there wants any migrants. There are no benefits paid, worth taking about, in Eastern Europe. Mr Orbán built a fence. Austria is doing likewise. Why not France?
Britain has a new £5 note. The Bank of England released the new polymer plastic £5 bank note into general circulation in England and Wales** on Tuesday. It marks the start of several big changes the Bank of England is making. The new fiver will see the Queen on one side, and Winston Churchill on the other. It will be 15% smaller than the current cotton-paper note.
For now, it’s only fivers that are changing. Plastic £10 and £20 bank notes will follow later. The new tenner will feature Jane Austin. It will enter circulation next summer. The new £20 note will arrive in 2020. The Bank has yet to decide on £50 notes. Be aware that existing £5 notes cease to be legal tender from May 2017!
**Scottish fivers will begin to change in late September and October.
The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. The historic vote took place on the 23rd June 2016. The result was that 48.1% of voters chose to remain in the EU while 51.9% chose to leave. The number of votes cast were 16,141,241 to remain in the EU; 17,410,742 to leave the EU.
England and Wales had an overall majority to leave the EU. London, Scotland and Northern Ireland all voted to remain. The turnout was 72.2%. It’s worth noting the vote shows that in England working class northerners revolted against cosmopolitan rich London.
Today, let’s talk about the European Football Championship that is taking place this year in Poland and Ukraine. Commonly known as Euro 2012 the championship will bring the best European teams together for what, no doubt, will be another exciting tournament.
The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship will be the 14th Championship for national European football teams organised by UEFA. This year’s tournament will be between the 8th June and the 1st July. It is the first time either country has hosted the event. The tournament will be between the final 16 nations.
The winner of the tournament gains automatic entry into the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup hosted by Brazil. Host cities in Poland for Euro 2012 are: Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw and Poznan. In Ukraine, the host cities are: Kiev, Lvov, Donetsk and Kharkov. The semi finals will take place in Donetsk and Warsaw. The final will take place at the Olympic Stadium (Capacity 60,000) in Kiev.
Category: Sport / Football / Euro 2012