The Czech Republic in Central Europe has decided to change its official name to Czechia. There are many reasons for this. One is that Czechs are fed up with people always trying to shorten their country’s name to Czecho or Czechland.
The new name will be similar to its neighbour Slovakia – that is also known as the Slovak Republic. Some people might say that Czechia is too similar in name to the Russian Republic of Chechnya.
Czechia is shorter than its former name of Czechoslovakia - before the country split in 1993 into two countries – namely The Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Today, let’s talk about April Fools’ Day. Known also as All Fools’ Day it is celebrated on the morning of the 1st April when practical jokes and hoaxes are played on people. The victims are called April fools! Newspapers are fond of reporting fake stories, which are normally explained the next day.
April Fools’ Day in the UK can be traced back to around 1392 to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The Nun’s Priest’s Tale mentions ‘Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two’. The passage was meant to mean 32 days after March – 2nd May – but was mistook for 32nd March i.e. 1st April.
It may surprise you but today there are thousands of people around the world stuck in modern day slavery. It is a scandal that many governments are failing to tackle.
You might be thinking slavery was abolished in the 19th century. It was, only today it is once again flourishing. It is a global issue that needs resolving. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) recently reported that 21 million people, five million of whom are children, are victims of forced labour.
Today let’s talk about Easter traditions. Every Christian country and region has its own. In this lesson we will look at a few of them.
Most people associate Easter with Easter eggs, Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts. Easter though is about Christ. Many Christians celebrate Easter to commemorate the resurrection of Christ. For this reason they go to church over this period.
Easter traditions do vary depending on where you live and what religion you have. A favourite Easter game is egg tossing or egg throwing. Why? Because the egg is a symbol of the rebirth of the earth in Pagan celebrations of spring and was adopted by early Christians as a symbol of the rebirth of man at Easter.
Recently four jobs were advertised to work in the British post office in Antarctica. More than 50 people applied for them. The jobs at Port Lockroy in British Antarctica Territory offer a monthly salary of around £1,100. Applications are now closed.
Those selected will see some wonderful mountain scenery including a lot of snow and virtually 24 hours of daylight. Applicants should however be aware of the 2,000 odd penguins they’ll have for company. The job itself involves cleaning penguin poo from the surrounding paths near the post office.
Today, let’s talk about the migration crisis in Europe. The EU leaders in Brussels have failed to solve the situation. It is now out of control. In fact, in Greece it is at breaking point.
East European and Balkan countries recently hosted a meeting in Vienna to discuss the migrant crisis. Interestingly neither Germany nor Greece were invited. The meeting initiated its own ongoing solutions to those of Brussels.
East European countries have sent police and troops to the Hungarian border with Serbia, and to the Macedonian border and Bulgarian border with Greece, where a barbed wire fence has been built to try to stop and limit the number of migrants allowed up the Balkan peninsular.
Today let’s talk about Valentine’s Day! In case you didn’t know it is on February 14th. It is celebrated in many countries around the world. These days it is pretty commercial. Known also as St Valentine’s Day it is associated with love! Valentine’s Day symbols include heart shapes, doves and the figure of a winged cupid.
In Britain in the 18th century handwritten greeting cards were sent. Lovers also expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, and confectionary. By 1900 handwritten cards had given way to mass-produced greeting cards; all these traditions still continue. Nowadays lovers also send SMS messages and email cards. A dozen red roses remain a popular gift to send your lover.
Today, let’s talk about where we might like to retire to. There are many thoughts on this subject, which this lesson will hopefully explore.
Most of us look forward to the day when we can sit back and retire. However, where should you retire to? Will it be a place by the sea? Perhaps you might like to live in a country cottage or in a house up a mountain.
Years ago many Brits living in cities favoured retiring to places like Bognor Regis, Margate or Blackpool because a place by the sea is what many dreamed of. Over the last 30 years or so many Brits retired to Spain. The weather is good - with 300 days of sunshine.
Today let’s talk about music legend David Bowie. The singer died in New York on the 10th January 2016 at the age of 69 following an 18 month battle with liver cancer.
Bowie had kept his illness a secret from his fans; only his family and a few close friends actually knew. He told them that he wanted to be remembered for the good times and his music. Shortly after his death he was secretly cremated in New York without any of his family or friends present ‘without fuss’ – no big show, no fan-fare.
In today’s English lesson we will look back at 2015. We will talk about some of the things that happened in the world during 2015.
The ongoing war in Syria dominated the news headlines in 2015. That aside, perhaps the biggest event to happen in Europe in 2015 was the great migration crisis. When the German Chancellor Mrs Merkel said ‘All migrants are welcome’ the floodgates were opened. Only Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán challenged her with his fence.
In the States Donald Trump was big news. He’s got a big mouth and wasn’t afraid to use it. Sadly, more people were killed by guns in the USA but as usual nothing was done about it.