Monthly Archives: December 2013

SPAIN´S BIGGEST NEWS STORIES IN 2013 (LOW B2)

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http://www.thelocal.es/20131226/the-2013-year-in-review

From crises in Catalonia and Gibraltar to allegations of US spying and the amazing year of Rafa Nadal, 2013 has been a year of intense drama in Spain. The Local takes a look back at the key events.

Spain stumbled into 2013 with something of a hangover.

The country had just experienced a general strike, unemployment shot up by nearly 3 percent in January and the country was just embarking on its third year of recession.

To make matters worse, Barcelona super-coach Pep Guardiola signed for Bayern Munich.

Twelve months later, one could be tempted to think everything has worked out for the best. The country’s Spain’s recession is over, house prices were up in November for the first time in forever, the country’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says there will be jobs growth next year.

Even Barcelona is doing just fine. the club is sitting at the top of the table under new coach Gerardo (Tata) Martino.

But it has been a far from easy year for Spain.

Street protests continue to be a feature of everyday life, whether the target is banks behaving badly, cuts to health spending or new security laws.

At the same time, corruption scandals involving the former treasurer of Spain’s ruling Popular Party and the husband of Spain’s Princess Cristina have barely been off the front page all year.

In other news, Madrid lost out in its bid to host Olympics in 2020, and also failed to hold onto a mega-casino project it hoped would bring over €30 billion to the region.

The Spanish State also struggled with its federal system. The president of Catalonia threw down the gauntlet saying the region would hold a vote on self-rule in 2013 while some groups in the Basque Country openly celebrated the EU-ordered release of Eta terrorists.

There were moments of human tragedy too. July’s train crash just outside Santiago de Compostela on the eve of the region’s annual holiday won’t be forgotten for a long time.

 HAVE YOUR SAY AND TELL US….. IN YOUR OPINION WHICH HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST NEWS STORY IN 2013?

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10 REASONS NOT TO CHANGE THE ABORTION LAW (LOW B2)

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http://elpais.com/elpais/2013/12/20/inenglish/1387558332_519296.html

After nearly two years of reiterated and sometimes contradictory statements by the Justice Minister, Mr Gallardón, the main reason given for this change is a commitment made in the election manifesto. This is not a convincing argument, not only due to present government’s obvious failure to implement virtually all of its election pledges, but also because the proposal does not even adhere to its commitment. There is a considerable difference between introducing some changes to the current legislation, especially in relation to 16- and 17-year-olds, and the drastic changes that are on the horizon. Not even the most progressive factions of the Popular Party could have predicted that 28 years of reasonable laws would be overturned.

In the case of abortion, as in most things, there are reasons to take one stance or another. For some it may be a question of imposing their own beliefs and desires on others, while others believe in respecting the autonomy of women to make decisions regarding their own bodies and lives.

Our reasons for advocating the preservation of the current law are as follows:

One. Because it works. The predictions of considerable increases in the number of abortions have not come true, and in the three years since the law came into force there have been no complaints or health-related complications of any kind. The law has therefore largely solved the problems of legal uncertainty that plagued the previous one.

Two. Because it respects women. The establishment of a period in which women can freely decide whether they want to continue with a pregnancy or not is the only way to avoid abusing the fundamental rights of pregnant women.

Three. Because it is in accord with the Constitution. Contrary to arguments put forward, the current law does not contradict the doctrine of the Constitutional Court, which has never ruled on a law involving deadlines.

Four. Because it is more respectful of life in gestation. Establishing limits and providing women with information and alternative resources has proven to be the best way to reconcile women’s right to decide with the State’s duty to protect life in gestation.

Five. Because it is the most widely used system in Europe. Establishing legal deadlines for abortions is the most widespread system among European countries, especially when it comes to states that share Spain’s political and constitutional tradition. In a Europe without borders, it is unfair that Spanish women should be treated differently to French, Portuguese or Germans in terms of their fundamental rights.

Six. Because it does not distinguish between rich and poor. Restrictive laws do not reduce the number of abortions, they only cause women who have no financial resources to abort under worse conditions, resulting in sexual discrimination combined with discrimination based on social class or status.

Seven. Because the population is in agreement. The majority of the Spanish population is not in favor of restrictive or prohibitive legislation on abortion. According to the latest survey by Metroscopia, the majority, 53 percent, supports a law that establishes deadlines such as the current one, while 37 percent would prefer a law based on medical reasons. Eight. Because it makes abortion safer and fairer. Facilitating the procedures means that abortions are performed, as is the case now, in very early stages of pregnancy, decreasing the risks associated with late-term abortions. It also helps to ensure that women are treated the same regardless of the Autonomous Community in which they live.

Nine. Because it is an eminently preventive law. Current legislation not only addresses voluntary interruption of pregnancy but also prevention and affective and sexual education for the entire population, especially the younger generation, which is the most effective way to reduce the number of abortions.

Ten. Because abolishing it would set Spain back socially by decades. Today we live better because we are able to make decisions concerning our sexual and reproductive lives without being persecuted. If after only three years we lose what took 30 years to achieve, it would be a step back into the a past that would be difficult to return from.

Ten reasons against one. The Popular Party has a sufficient parliamentary majority to approve the reform that they want, regardless of whether or not it conforms to their election pledges. But they also have a social and democratic commitment to govern on behalf of the majority. This would be a good time to take a reality check and promote understanding between factions of differing opinion without making matters worse for women facing an abortion, who, under the new law, will be subject to increased suffering and reduced freedom.

It is unwise to legislate against something that works. It is unfair to distrust the responsibility of women. It is undemocratic to force women to become mothers against their will. So why punish women? Is there still time to consider their interests and leave things as they are?

Isabel Serrano (Spokesperson Plataforma Decidir Nos Hace Libres) and Marisa Soleto (Directora Fundación Mujeres) + 60 other organizations.

WATCH THIS VIDEO FROM THE BBC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xThpZWR3rdw

CHRISTMAS LOTTERY DRAW (LOW B2)

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LOOK AT THIS PICTURE. WHERE DO YOU THINK IT WAS TAKEN?

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OK. I KNOW THERE ARE MANY SQUARES IN SPAIN LIKE THIS…. BUT THIS ONE IS RELATED TO THE SHOOTING OF THIS YEAR´S NATIONAL LOTTERY DRAW ADVERT. DOES IT RING A BELL?

The drawing of Spain’s Christmas lottery on Dec. 22 will distribute 2,240 million euros ($3 billion) in prizes, of which 640 will correspond to the “Gordo” (the Fat One).

The SELAE state lottery society debuted Tuesday the lottery and the TV commercial designed to promote ticket sales, a spot by film director Pablo Berger featuring the voices of Montserrat Caballe, Rafael, Marta Sanchez, Niña Pastori and David Bustamante.

The president of SELAE, Inmaculada Garcia, has revealed the details of the Christmas Lottery, which this year as a novelty has decreased the number of series from 180 to 160 in order to adjust the offer to the demand, which does not in any way mean, she said, that there will be a “drop in the number of prizes per series or in the amount.”

The lottery is made up of 160 series of 100,000 tickets each, at a price of 200 euros ($269) per ticket, each divided into tenths of 20 euros ($27).

The lottery, to be celebrated in the traditional way at Madrid’s Teatro Real, maintains the same prizes, the first being 4 million euros ($5.4 million) per series and 400,000 euros ($537,000) per tenth; the second of 1.25 million euros ($1.68 million), and the third of 500,000 euros ($672,000).

There will also be two fourth prizes of 200,000 euros ($269,000) per series, eight fifth prizes of 60,000 euros ($81,000), and 1,794 prizes of 1,000 euros ($1,343).

Sales for the lottery, Garcia said, are pretty much up to last year’s level, with a slight drop of an unspecified amount, though she believes the final results will be positive.

And that is because in the last quarter there was an uptick in national lottery sales, after a certain stagnation in the first months of the year, Garcia said.

“We’re in crisis and that can be observed in all sectors, but where it is least seen is in the Christmas lottery,” Garcia said. EFE

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2013/11/12/spanish-christmas-lottery-to-offer-over-3-bn-in-prize-money/

IN TIMES OF ECONOMIC CRISIS AND RECESSION PEOPLE RELY ON FORTUNE MORE THAN EVER.

ARE YOU GOING TO SPEND MORE OR LESS ON LOTTERY TICKETS THAN LAST YEAR?

 IS THE CATCHY  TUNE FROM THE SPOT FAMILIAR TO YOU? WHICH SONG DOES IT ORIGINALLY COME FROM? IF YOU KNOW THE ANSWER, PLEASE, POST THE ANSWER ASAP. I´LL BE WAITING FOR YOUR REPLIES!!

SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES (A1-A2)

SHOPPING IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR ACTIVITIES AT XMAS.

WHAT OTHER ACTIVITIES ARE VERY COMMON AT CHRISTMAS TIME?

SO, LET´S GO SHOPPING……

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk5ukX0oGqQ

 

 

PRINCESS DIANA: A NEW ROYAL BIOPIC ON FRIDAY 13th……

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YOU MIGHT BE TIRED OF  HER STORY BY NOW, BUT….HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT DIANA´S BIOGRAPHY?

IF YOU´D LIKE TO FIND OUT MORE, WATCH THIS MINI BIO:

DI NAOMI

A NEW FILM  ABOUT HER LIFE….IS GOING TO BE REALEASED  IN DECEMBER ON  FRIDAY 13th  IN SPAIN .

DI FILM

IF ANY OF MY BASIC STUDENTS IS  INTERESTED IN READING ABOUT HER…. THERE ARE GRADED READERS BASED ON HER LIFE

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IF YOU ARE AN UPPER-INTERMEDIATE STUDENT, MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR HOLIDAY AND READ IN ENGLISH  OR GO TO THE CINEMA AND WATCH FILMS IN ORIGINAL VERSION!!  YOU CAN POST YOUR FILM REVIEWS

ITAMAR´S FAMILY (A2)

 

SHOPS (A1)

Types of shops in English

HOW MANY OF THESE SHOPS CAN YOU NAME IN ENGLISH?

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department store  – a shop that sells many different items in different departments. Harrods is probably the world’s best known department store.

supermarket – a large shop that sells mostly food and household items.

grocer (UK) / grocery store (US) – a shop that sells food.

greengrocer – sells fresh fruit and vegetables.

butcher – sells fresh meat.

baker – sells fresh bread and cakes.

fishmonger – sells fresh fish.

chemist (UK) / drugstore (US) – sells medicines and toiletries.

pharmacy (US) – sells medicines.

newsagent – sells newspapers and magazines.

stationer – sells paper goods.

optician – sells glasses / contact lenses.

DIY store – sells things for home improvement.

hardware shop / hardware store / ironmonger – hard goods, such as nails and screws.

corner shop (UK) – a shop on the corner of your street, selling a range of basic goods – food, newspapers, sweets, bread, etc.

delicatessen (deli) – sells specialist food not normally found in supermarkets. For example, an Italian deli, an Asian deli.

bookshop / bookstore – books.

market – market traders (people who work on a market) have stalls that sell fruit and vegetables, clothes, household items and so on.

petshop – for pets and pet food.

flea market – a group of stalls selling old furniture or clothes.

tea shop (UK) – like a cafe, but sells tea and cakes.

petrol station (UK) / gas station (US) sells petrol, car products and sometimes food.

Using ‘s

When we talk about shops, we often put an ‘s on the end. For example, “I’m going to the chemist’s / greengrocer’s / butcher’s / baker’s / newsagent’s / fishmonger’s/ optician’s.”

We don’t use an ‘s with these shops: supermarket, hardware store, petrol station, department store.

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Smart Up Your English

LEARN NEW WORDS, EXPRESSIONS, PHRASES...

Helendipity Weblog

learn English and share your experiences (SERENDIPITY= the accidental discovery of something pleasant and useful!)

Adrian Underhill's Pronunciation Site

Practical Discovery of English Pronunciation