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Güncellendi: 1 saat 5 dak önce

Breastfeeding Center Helps Ugandan Lawmakers with Work, Motherhood

17 saat 22 dak önce
The World Health Organization (WHO) says breastfeeding is very important for the health of babies. WHO officials say mother’s milk should be the only food given to babies during the first six months of life. They advise that breastfeeding should continue in children up to two years of age. But that can be difficult for working mothers around the world. In Uganda, parliament is supporting the act of breastfeeding by providing a free day care center for female lawmakers and the women who work for them. Uganda’s parliament has more than 150 women legislators. Many of them are at the age when they can give birth. Because of this, parliament members, including male legislators, have taken steps to help female members deal with their full-time job and motherhood.  Legislator Taaka Agnes Wejuli sends her four-month-old son to the parliamentary day care center. “When I am coming very early, I don’t even have to bathe my baby. I just get him out of sleep, put him in his car seat, lock the vehicle and we run up to here…I attend committee meetings. I attend (the) plenary in the afternoon, so I am always there, all the time.” The Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, opened the parliamentary center almost two years ago. The center has a room with cooking equipment, areas for babies to sleep and play, and a room for breastfeeding mothers. This room, Kadaga says, has helped female lawmakers stay active in parliament and solved many problems for them. “In the past, one would either have to leave parliament and go back home, depending on where she lives, that would take time,” said Kadaga. “Either she would have to do part of the work, or abandon the work altogether and come back tomorrow because the traffic alone, if you are traveling back and forth between the city and your home, it takes time.” Two women supervise the center, which is open to both parliamentarians and the women who work for them. Sheeba Namara takes her three-month-old baby to the center. She says it is good to know her child is so near. “Just the comfort of being at work yet at the same time knowing that your child is safe and you can walk in anytime, is really the best service that could ever do.” The World Health Organization rates countries on policies that support breastfeeding in its Global Breastfeeding Scorecard. It says Uganda is among 23 countries where more than 60 percent of babies are fed only their mother’s milk during the first six months. Ugandan health officials say there are still many things that can be done to help mothers. These include enacting policies aimed at supporting breastfeeding and babies’ health. Officials also say policies to let women more easily balance work and family responsibilities are also needed. I’m  Anne Ball.   Halima Athumani reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted the report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor. _________________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   bathe – v.  to wash (someone) in a container filled with water : to give a bath to (someone)​ plenary – adj. describing a full meeting of all members of a group abandon – v. to leave suddenly or without notice afternoon – n. the middle part of the day​ back and forth – adv. between two places or people​ comfort – n. a state or feeling of being less worried, upset, frightened, etc., during a time of trouble or emotional pain​ We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Reporter’s Arrest Increases Concerns about Bangladeshi Law

Cts, 19.08.2017 - 23:27
  Abdul Latif Morol's problems started after he wrote on social media about a dead goat. Morol, a Bangladeshi journalist, had reported on a donation from a government official. The official had given a number of farm animals to a rural community southwest of Dhaka, the country’s capital. One of the animals, a goat, had quickly died. “Goat given by the state minister in the morning died in the evening,” Morol wrote. A pro-government newspaper correspondent accused the journalist of insulting the official under Section 57 of Bangladesh's Information and Communications Technology Act. Arrested two weeks ago, and later released on condition that he return for a hearing, Morol's case made news because of its strange nature. His case puts light on the use of the law against Bangladeshi journalists and the shrinking space for media freedom in the country. Journalists arrested under "Section 57" law The Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star reports that at least 25 journalists have been accused of violating Section 57 since March 1. Violators can face a sentence of up to 14 years in prison. Last month, the Editors' Council called for the law to be overturned. Zafar Sobhan is with The Dhaka Tribune newspaper. He noted that "Section 57 of the ICT Act is a serious problem." However, he explained, even if the government cancelled the law, other measures could be used against the news media. The goat story was "especially silly," Sobhan said. But he added, "it points to a fundamental problem: that no one knows what is within bounds and what is not." Iftekhar Zaman, the head of Transparency International Bangladesh, said the law went against constitutional guarantees and international calls for freedom of expression. Zaman noted that history has many examples of "how such controls of fundamental freedoms turn out to be counterproductive in the long run for the proponents of such." Rights agencies criticize Bangladesh Amnesty International documented the difficult environment for journalists three months ago in a report. The group noted incidents of harassment of reporters. The restrictions are taking place at a time of rising Islamic fundamentalism. At least six writers and activists have been killed in Bangladesh since 2013.  In addition, rights groups point to reports of secret detentions and forced disappearances, some of them involving opposition members and activists. Last month, Human Rights Watch said there were 48 reported disappearances in the first five months of 2017. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government has generally dismissed criticism related to rights abuses and media restrictions. Last October, the prime minister reportedly said, "there is enough freedom for journalism in Bangladesh right now." Last month, she defended Section 57 and warned against its misuse, saying it was not meant to be used against journalists. The Daily Star reported her statements. But considered together, the problems facing Bangladesh suggest a shrinking democratic space. "Media freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, there's a link to the state of democracy," said Badiul Majumdar, the Secretary of Citizens for Good Governance. Sobhan, the Dhaka Tribune editor-in-chief, noted that his newspaper is critical of extremism, "but we have to be cautious." He said that some criticism of the government and law enforcement is acceptable, but "there are definitely lines one cannot cross." "At the same time," he added, "one can't simply take the safe route, as then we would be doing our readers a disservice, and who would read such a newspaper, anyway?" I'm John Russell.   Joe Freeman reported on this story for VOA News. John Russell adapted his report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor. We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section. _______________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   journalist – n. a reporter or other member of the news media fundamental – adj. forming or relating to the most important part of something silly – adj. showing a lack of understanding; not serious or meaningful counterproductive – adj. not helpful : making the thing you want to happen less likely to happen harassment – n. the act of annoying or bothering (someone) in a constant or repeated way  

UN Officials: Libyan Unrest Harming Children

Cts, 19.08.2017 - 23:20
  The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says more than 500,000 children in Libya are in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance. The UN agency notes that migrant children passing through Libya are especially at risk of abuse. Competing governments have sought to control the North African country since the fall of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in October of 2011. There is no sign the fighting, displacement of people and economic problems will end anytime soon. Libya is a stopping point for African migrants on their way to Europe. Many go there in hopes of finding a boat to take them across the Mediterranean Sea. But UN officials say the crisis in Libya has affected a large number of children. Geert Cappelaere is UNICEF’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “In Libya, we estimate today a third of the population is under the age of 18,” he said. “Two million children do live in Libya of which a quarter — 500,000 — are estimated by UNICEF to be facing dire humanitarian need.” Cappelelaere says conditions in Libya have affected children in many ways. “The access to schools has been hampered. But (this) also, definitely, has affected the quality of the education children are having,” he says. “We have important numbers of children usually in conflict situations that have been suffering of a type of social consequences of the conflict. Children that have been separated from their families.” UNICEF says 315,000 children in Libya need help getting an education. In addition, the group says 200,000 need access to safe drinking water. Adding to the difficulties are tens of thousands of migrants from countries south of the Sahara desert. They are fleeing conflict, drought and poor economic conditions. Many have crossed the desert with the goal of reaching Europe. However, crossing the Mediterranean usually involves working with smugglers, who often put too many people into small, weak boats. The International Organization for Migration reports that about 117,000 migrants have arrived in Europe this year. However, the group also notes that more than 2,400 have died trying to get there. Cappelaere says migrant children face many dangers. “We see an important number of these children arriving in Libya separated from their families,” says Cappelaere. “Being unaccompanied. We know that several hundred of these children have ended up and are ending in detention facilities.” The aid group Oxfam is made up of many charitable organizations. On August 9, Oxfam released a report about the problems facing migrants leaving Libya. The report presents migrant stories of killings, rape, torture and detention in Libya. In one example, a Senegalese teenager was reported to have said he was kept in a room that was full of dead bodies. Cappelaere says the children of migrants often face abuse. “Children are, of course, very much exposed to violence and exploitation by those who are trying to make big money out of the migration crisis. So, children who are affected by migration are indeed particularly vulnerable,” he said. However, the UNICEF official says there have been some successes in Libya. About 1.4 million children have been vaccinated against polio by UNICEF and its partners, including some Libyan national groups. Cappelaere praises the health workers in Libya, especially those who continue working after their medical centers have been attacked. UNICEF plans to have all its international staff working full-time in Libya by October. The crisis had forced many workers to leave or operate out of Tunisia. Cappelaere says the increase in workers would permit UNICEF to assist 1.5 million children. But, he notes, the agency needs additional money to carry on its work. He says UNICEF has asked for $15 million for Libya this year, but remains about six million dollars away from that goal. I’m Mario Ritter.   Joe De Capua reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted his report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor. _____________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   migrant – n. people who move from place to place, usually for economic reasons dire – adj. causing fear or worry hamper – v. to interfere with, to slow down access – n. permission or ability to enter or use something consequences – n. results of some action smuggler – n. someone who takes things or people from one country to another secretly or illegally unaccompanied – adj. not with anyone else, alone facilities – n. building or equipment used for a specific purpose vulnerable -adj. easily hurt emotionally or physically staff – n. the workers responsible for the operations of an agency or business We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Terrorists Again Using Vehicles to Carry Out Attacks

Cts, 19.08.2017 - 00:01
Once again, terrorists have used vehicles to carry out deadly attacks – this time in Spain. At least 14 people were killed in two attacks in different areas. More than 100 others were injured. On Thursday, a van struck a crowd on a busy street in the Spanish city of Barcelona. The attack took place on Las Ramblas, a road leading from the center of the city to the coast. The area, which has many stores and restaurants, was filled with people enjoying a summer day. Police said the driver of the vehicle fled on foot.   The second attack happened early Friday about 130 kilometers south of Barcelona in the seaside town of Cambrils. Attackers drove a passenger car into a crowd, killing one person and injuring at least five others. Police said they killed five attackers after the incident in Cambrils. Spanish officials said it appeared the attackers had explosives tied to their bodies, but the bombs turned out to be fake. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the latest violence. Officials said at least four suspects – three Moroccans and a Spaniard – were arrested. One of the arrests was made in Alcanar, a town south of Barcelona. Police said one person was killed in an explosion at a home there on Wednesday. The area is being studied for possible links to the other attacks. Police reportedly believe people at the home may have been “preparing an explosive device.” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the latest attacks showed that the fight against terrorists is a “global battle.” He noted that, in his opinion, terrorism is Europe's biggest problem. The killings in Spain followed several deadly attacks in Europe in recent years, several of which also involved vehicles. In June, three attackers drove a van into people walking on the London Bridge. The attackers then stabbed people in nearby bars. A total of eight people were killed and more than 40 others injured. Another attack in London took place in March near Britain’s parliament. In that incident, a car struck people walking on Westminster Bridge. Five people were killed and over 20 others injured. One of the dead was a policeman, who had been stabbed. In April, attackers used a truck to kill five people in Stockholm, Sweden. In December 2016, another truck drove into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin, killing 12. Five months earlier, an attacker drove a large truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice. Eighty-six people were killed.   A vehicle also was used last weekend to attack protesters in the American city of Charlottesville, Virginia. A man described by a former teacher as a supporter of the American Nazi Party drove his car into the crowd. One woman was killed in the attack. Two Virginia state policemen responding to the violence died in a helicopter crash. I’m Bryan Lynn.   Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English. His report was based on stories from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. George Grow was the editor. We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page. _______________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   fake – adj. not real, false bar – n. place where people go to socialize and drink  

Chinese Activist Faces up to 10 Years in Prison

Cum, 18.08.2017 - 00:00
  A court in China held a closed hearing on Monday in the case of a well-known Chinese activist. Wu Gan faces up to 10 years in prison. Legal observers expect the court to announce its decision in a few days. Wu is said to face up to 12 charges, including “inciting state subversion.” Wu is best known for making fun of official efforts to block his push for justice. Wu Gan is known in China by his online name: “The Butcher.” Wu once served in China’s military. He became famous by using unusual campaigns that combine online speech, street performance, and humor to criticize other people’s actions. Wu was first arrested in May of 2015 after he reportedly swore at the head of a court in Nanchang, a city in Jiangxi province. He was officially charged with “inciting state subversion” two months later. However, his detention was reported to be part of the July 9 Crackdown, a government campaign against rights lawyers that began in July of 2015. Wu did work for the Beijing Fengrui Law Firm, a law office that was a main target of the crackdown. Trial not open to the public His trial on Monday was not open to the public. The court in Tianjin said in a statement that this was because state secrets were involved. The statement said Wu “recognized” his behavior was a crime and that his lawyers presented arguments in his defense. The court added that a decision “would be handed down at a later date.” Before the trial, Wu released a statement that his father published online. In that statement, the activist said he expects a “heavy sentence” because he refused a state-appointed lawyer or to admit guilt in court. Wu said he also refused to admit guilt in front of a television camera for officials’ propaganda purposes. And he said he wanted to show how the police had tortured him. Wu described the trial as a “farce,” and said he would refuse to speak in his own defense. “An innocent man doesn’t need to defend himself,” the statement said. Wu also said he did nothing wrong but to exercise his civil rights guaranteed by China’s Constitution. He said being found guilty would represent an honor awarded to “warriors for liberty and democracy.” Jerome Cohen is a professor at the New York University School of Law. He called the statement a moving and accurate description of the misuse of China’s legal system to limit freedom of speech. Cohen wrote on his blog, “This account of his personal experience encapsulates virtually all the abuses the Xi Jinping regime has been committing against human rights activists.” You Minglei is a legal assistant and a friend of Wu Gan. You said Wu would likely receive a seven-to-10-year sentence. You told VOA that Chinese officials were angry with Wu for his “pursuit of illegal misconduct by local governments or public office holders.” He noted that Wu wrote stories with names like “Guides to Butchering Pigs” and “Guides to Drinking Tea,” which made officials angry. Increased security was reported around the court in Tianjin, where the secret trial was held. Several China-based diplomats and journalists, including a VOA reporter, were barred from observing the trial. I’m Mario Ritter.   Joyce Huang reported this story for VOANews.com. Mario Ritter adapted her report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor. ________________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   online – adj. connected to or involving a computer or telecommunications system crackdown – n. a serious effort to punish people for doing something that is not permitted; an increase in the enforcement of certain laws or rules farce – n. something seen as bad or the object of laughter accurate – adj. free from mistake; problem-free blog – n. web log, someone’s online writing page encapsulates --v. shows the main idea of something pursuit – n. to seek out and follow We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

UN: Over One Million South Sudan Refugees in Uganda

Cum, 18.08.2017 - 00:00
The United Nations says over one million people have entered Uganda to escape violence in neighboring South Sudan. The U.N.’s refugee agency reported Thursday that an average of 1,800 South Sudanese arrived daily in Uganda over the past year. One million others are reported to have gone to Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. Recent arrivals to refugee camps have reported “barbaric violence” in their home country. They say South Sudanese civilians are being burned alive in their homes. They report of sexual attacks on women and girls, and kidnapping of boys who are then forced into armed groups. South Sudan’s civil war began at the end of 2013. Aid agencies say there has been increasing violence since a power-sharing agreement collapsed in July of last year. Civilians have suffered the most in the conflict. The International Committee of the Red Cross says one in three people living in South Sudan has been displaced. It also says one in two South Sudanese is severely hungry and in need of food assistance. The New York-based group International Rescue Committee, or IRC, reports that 75 percent of the South Sudanese refugees in Uganda have arrived in the past year.   Amnesty International has called the one-million mark a “wake-up call” for the international community. The group says other countries must act to stop violence and other abuses against civilians in South Sudan. The United Nations has estimated it will need $674 million this year alone to provide for the refugees, but the U.N. says it has received only 20 percent of that amount. The lack of money has forced the World Food Program to cut food supplies for some refugees. Classes have also been affected in the few schools available. Some classes often have as many as 200 students. South Sudanese families continue to arrive, exhausted, in Uganda. Armed rebels keep a close watch on the South Sudanese side of the border as the people cross. The most recent arrivals have suffered through heavy rain, cold nights and the sun’s heat to find safety. Once on the Ugandan side, Lacey Iya and her family stopped to rest. She says they stayed three weeks under trees, with only simple cooking equipment, plates and drinking glasses. She says they need to be taken to a place to find peace, and leave what happened behind them. I’m Anne Ball.   George Grow wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor. _____________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   barbaric – adj. wild; showing a lack of restraint according – adv. as stated by or in wake-up – adj. helping someone or something to awaken plate – n. a flat, usually round object that is used for serving food exhausted – adj. extremely tired We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

South Korea Says US in Close Communications Over North

Cum, 18.08.2017 - 00:00
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says U.S. President Donald Trump has told him North Korea would not be attacked without South Korea’s approval. Moon said, “The United States and President Trump have declared and promised that whatever military action they would like to take, they will fully discuss it with us and get our consent.” “South Korea and the U.S. are in full communication and discussions,” he added. During a televised news conference, Moon also promised to prevent another military conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The event marked his first 100 days in office. Moon has called for reducing tensions through talks and engagement. This has been different from the U.S. president’s efforts to put “maximum pressure” on North Korea for its missile tests and nuclear program. However, Moon said North Korea should stop the development of a fully operational Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Such a development, Moon said, would cross a “red line” and raise the risk of military conflict. Moon said “President Trump is trying to pressure North Korea by showing firm determination.” But he said he considered economic pressure was the main way to persuade North Korea to take part in nuclear talks. Tensions ease as North Korean launch postponed Tensions on the Korean Peninsula eased this week as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un postponed planned missile launches. North Korea had threatened to launch missiles targeting waters near the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. Trump called the postponement a “wise and well-reasoned decision” in a tweet on the social network Twitter. North Korea’s threat was in reaction to new United Nations Security Council restrictions. The goal of the measures is to ban about $1 billion worth of North Korean exports including coal, iron ore and seafood. The U.S. and other countries have accused North Korea of using export income to fund its banned weapons programs. Moon’s news conference Wednesday came less than one week before the beginning of yearly military exercises between South Korean and U.S. troops. North Korea strongly condemns the exercises calling them preparations for “invasion.” During a visit to Beijing Thursday, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Cheifs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford said there are no plans to reduce the size of the exercises. And U.S. Vice President Mike Pence again stated that “all options” toward North Korea remain for consideration during his visit to South America. China is North Korea’s main ally and biggest trade partner. On Monday, China announced it would place restrictions on North Korean imports following the U.N. Security Council measures. China has urged North Korea not to carry out missile or nuclear tests that are banned by the Council. It also has said stopping regular South Korea-U.S. military exercises would ease tensions in the area. I’m Dorothy Gundy.   Brian Padden and Richard Green reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor. ________________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   consent –n. giving approval maximum –adj. the most determination –n. to continue to do something in order to reach a difficult goal persuade –v. to convince someone to do something options –n. things that can be chosen between, opportunities to choose We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Scientists Identify New Search Area for Missing Malaysian Plane

Per, 17.08.2017 - 00:00
Scientists say they have identified a new, smaller search area for a Malaysian passenger airplane, which went missing in 2014. The scientists are with the Australian government’s main scientific agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. They released a report about the missing plane on Wednesday. The agency said it believed with great “precision and certainty” that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. It said scientists believe the plane, a Boeing 777, came down in waters northeast of an area that once was thought to be its final resting place. Two years of searches failed to find evidence of the aircraft or the 239 people it was carrying. The plane disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, to Beijing on March 8, 2014.  The new report identified a 25,000-square-kilometer area off the coast of Western Australia as a likely crash site. The scientific agency said its finding was based on satellite images taken two weeks after Flight MH370 went missing. The scientists said the images - provided by France’s military intelligence service - showed about 70 objects floating in the water. They described some of the debris as “probably” man-made.   The agency said it thinks the new findings could now make it possible “to identify a most-likely location of the aircraft.” The two-year search operation was a joint effort of Australia, China and Malaysia. The operation was called off in January. About $160 million was spent on the search efforts. It was not clear whether the new report would lead to any new search efforts. The Australian government reacted cautiously to the new report. The Transport Safety Bureau said in a statement the scientists had not proven that objects seen in the images came from the Malaysian plane.  Oceanographer David Griffin helped to prepare the report. He admitted the scientists cannot be totally sure that objects seen in the images are actual pieces of the plane. However, he said this still may be “a really good clue” to find new evidence. “If you are going to search, then you'd be silly to ignore this potential clue,” he said.  The disappearance of Flight MH370 has become one of the world's greatest flight mysteries. The plane is thought to have gone thousands of kilometers off course before crashing in the Indian Ocean. So far, only three large pieces of debris that washed ashore from the ocean have been confirmed as coming from the missing plane. I’m Bryan Lynn.   Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English based on reports from VOANews, Reuters and the Associated Press. George Grow was the editor. We want to hear from you. Do you think the search should continue for the missing plane? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page. _____________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   precision – n. quality of exactness or accuracy certainty – n. surety, not in doubt debris – n. pieces left over from something that was destroyed cautiously – adj. acting extremely carefully, avoiding risks clue – n. something that helps a person solve a mystery silly – adj. not serious, meaningful or important potential – adj. capable of becoming something in the future  

China Answers Trump's Call for Trade Investigation

Ça, 16.08.2017 - 23:55
China says it will “resolutely safeguard” its economic interests if the United States investigates China’s possible theft of American intellectual property. Intellectual property includes inventions that are creatively produced, such as designs or technology. U.S. President Donald Trump signed what is called a presidential memorandum about the issue on Monday. The document directs the Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to investigate whether China has been illegally taking American intellectual property. The investigation will take as long as one year. On Tuesday, China’s Ministry of Commerce warned the United States that China will not “sit by and watch” if the United States ignores international trade rules. Trump wants trade officials to look into the Chinese requirements for American companies to do business in China. He said the United States will “stand up to any country that unlawfully forces American companies to transfer their valuable technology” in order to do business there. Intellectual property owners have the right to sell their inventions to make money and competitors are barred from copying those inventions. However, if that intellectual property is stolen, the owners can lose money because other companies can make illegal versions of their product. “For too long this wealth has been drained from our country while Washington has done nothing,” Trump said. “As president of the United States, it is my duty and responsibility to protect the American worker’s technology and industry from unfair and abusive actions.” If the United States finds wrongdoing, it could ask the World Trade Organization to punish China or look for other solutions. Patrick Chovanec is the chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management, which is based in New York. He said the theft of international property by China has been happening for a long time. He said, in the past, China was unwilling to negotiate about intellectual property theft. However, Trump will need to decide, after the investigation ends, if he wants to seek trade restrictions. Chovanec said that, in the past, sanctions have caused China to react with similar measures. Before Trump signed the order, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying released a warning on Monday. Hua said Trump’s action could lead to a trade war in which “both sides will be the losers.” Trump has criticized the U.S. trade deficit with China, which was $347 billion in 2016. Trump has suggested that he would reduce criticism of China if the country did more to control North Korea and its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. China said on Monday that it is banning imports of coal, iron ore, seafood and other products from North Korea. The move is required by new United Nations Security Council sanctions. The sanctions are aimed at cutting North Korea’s yearly export income by $1 billion. I'm Mario Ritter. And I'm Olivia Liu.   Ken Bredemeier reported this story for VOA News. Olivia Liu adapted this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor. _____________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   resolutely – adv. firmly, with resolve transfer –v. to cause something to be moved from one place to another drained – v. to slowly disappear sanctions – n. punishment meant to force a country to obey international law ballistic missile – n. a missile able to strike targets at great distances We want to hear from you. Write to us in the comments section below.

Indonesia Increases Its Own War on Drugs

Sa, 15.08.2017 - 23:49
  Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is again urging an increase in efforts to fight illegal drugs in the country. Jokowi said police should shoot foreign drug dealers who “resist arrest.” He added that the country is in a “narcotics emergency position.” Jokowi made his comments at a political event in late July. Days before the speech, police shot and killed a Taiwanese man for resisting arrest. Police say he and several others were trying to smuggle 1,000 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia. Recently, Jakarta Police Chief General Adham Azis said he would “not think twice” about dismissing police officers who were not fighting drug trafficking enough. In addition, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights recently announced a plan to place all people currently jailed for drug offenses into four prisons. The prisons in West Java, North Sumatra, Central Java and Central Kalimantan would get increased security, news reports say. Human rights groups raise concerns The New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch has criticized Indonesia’s campaign against drug trafficking. In a statement, the group said, “President Joko Widodo should send a clear and public message to the police that efforts to address the complex problems of drugs and criminality require the security forces to respect everyone’s basic rights, not demolish them.” The aim of Indonesia’s campaign is to stop the flow of the low-cost drug crystal methamphetamine. It is similar to the effort of President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. He has been criticized for his violent campaign against drug crimes. Thousands of drug dealers and users have been killed. Last month, Indonesian officials seized the largest amount of crystal methamphetamine in the history of the country. The head of Indonesia’s narcotics agency, General Budi Waseso, called for a war on drugs -- similar to the one in the Philippines -- last September. He told Australia’s ABC news agency, “The market that existed in the Philippines is moving to Indonesia, the impact of President Duterte’s actions is an exodus to Indonesia.” Severe punishments for drug crimes Drug trafficking can carry a death sentence in Indonesia which considers the offense as serious as murder or terrorism. People found guilty of low-level drug crimes are estimated to make up 70 percent of Indonesia’s prison population. Erasmus Napitupulu is with the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform in Jakarta. He said there are many question about President Jokowi’s drug policy. He criticized the death sentence as putting a big burden on Indonesia’s justice system. “The death penalty targets small drug couriers, which in many cases leads to unfair trials. Indonesian law has not been able to bear the burden of fair trial(s),” he said. Southeast Asian countries have resisted lightening punishments for drug users or traffickers. Besides Indonesia and the Philippines, other countries in the area, including Singapore, want to continue with harsh punishments for drug crimes. Last year, however, Thailand considered changing the criminalization of methamphetamine because prisons were becoming overcrowded. But there are no similar signs in Indonesia. In 2015, Jokowi led an anti-drug campaign that resulted in the execution of 14 people for drug offenses. But, critics say that the severe punishments have not reduced the number of crimes. Claudia Stoicescu is a researcher at the University of Oxford. She wrote, “Far from having a deterrent effect, the number of drug-related crimes in Indonesia increased in the months after the executions were carried out in January and April 2015.” Other critics say increased resources used for drug-related arrests have taken money away from rehabilitation efforts. Some say those resources could be better used to help an estimated one million Indonesians addicted to methamphetamines. Erasmus says Indonesia should learn from the experience of the United States. The U.S. has reduced the number of arrests over small drug crimes and moved to legalize small amounts of the drug marijuana. “If Indonesia retains capital punishment as the main solution for drug issues, then I believe it is a political decision to preserve (politicians’) image(s), not to protect actual narcotics victims,” he said. I’m Mario Ritter.   Krithika Varagur reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor. ________________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   narcotics –n. drugs that have a powerful effect on the mind and body whose use is highly controlled and often illegal demolish –v. to tear down, destroy exodus –n. the act of a group leaving a place couriers –n. people who carry packages or letters from one place to another deterrent –n. something that keeps people from doing some activity rehabilitation –n. the process of bringing someone (who is sick, injured or has a problem) back to health retain –v. to keep We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Russian Court to Hear Wallenberg Case

Sa, 15.08.2017 - 00:00
  A court in Moscow is preparing to hear arguments from the family of Raoul Wallenberg in a case against Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB. The former Swedish diplomat has been credited with saving thousands of Jews during World War II. A lawyer for his family says the court will hear the arguments on August 17. The family is asking the FSB to provide documentation that could help prove what happened to Wallenberg at the end of the war. “We feared we will encounter resistance from the court in the adoption of the claim given that in recent decades,” Russian state agencies have invented reasons not to provide information on this case, lawyer Ivan Pavlov said on August 10. Raoul Wallenberg served as a diplomat in German-occupied Hungary during World War II. He led an effort that saved the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews. The Soviet Union took control of Hungary from German forces as the war came to a close. Soviet forces captured Wallenberg in 1945. He later died in prison, although details of his death are unclear. Russia has only said that Wallenberg died in 1947 in Moscow's Lubyanka prison. At the time, the prison was operating under the KGB, the main security agency for the Soviet Union. The FSB replaced the KGB after the break-up of the country in 1991. Soviet officials, and later Russia, claimed the then-35-year-old Swede died of a heart attack. Wallenberg’s family, Swedish officials, and others have disputed that claim. Marie Dupuy, Wallenberg’s niece, said on July 26 that she had asked the Russian legal organization Team 29 to bring the case to court. "Numerous requests to Russian authorities over many years, publicly and privately, by myself, by expert historians, and Swedish officials, have failed to yield any results," she said. Dupuy claimed Russian records contained documents with direct relevance  to Wallenberg's condition. But she said his family and independent experts have not been permitted to examine the documents. "As soon as [August 17], we will clarify the position of the FSB, which has not commented on this case in any way, and we will find out what we are going to face in court," Pavlov said. I’m John Russell.   Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty reported this story. George Grow adapted the report for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor. _______________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   adoption – n. the process of giving official approval of something decade – n. a period of 10 years niece – n. a daughter of one’s brother or sister relevance – n. relation to the issue under consideration   We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

Marble of Michelangelo’s Dreams Still Being Mined Today

Paz, 13.08.2017 - 23:44
  In 1517, the great Italian artist Michelangelo climbed Mount Altissimo in Tuscany. There, he found the marble of his dreams. Michelangelo thought the marble might even be better than that from nearby Carrara – the place where he got marble for some of his most famous statues. "There is enough here (Mount Altissimo) to extract until Judgment Day," he wrote. The term "Judgment Day" comes from the Christian belief about the end of the world. Michelangelo created a path that would help workers transport the marble from Altissimo to the city of Florence. The plan was to use the marble to improve the look of the Church of San Lorenzo. After several years of work, Pope Leo took away Michelangelo's permission to work on the project. The church still does not have a beautiful façade at the front. In the three centuries following Michelangelo's time, the Altissimo quarries were ignored and later rediscovered. In the 19th century, the leaders of Russia chose Altissimo marble for Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg. More recently, Altissimo marble was used in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The mosque opened in 2007. Today, the quarries on Altimisso are very active. The Reuters news agency says modern stone cutting and removal methods have produced a look similar to some Cubism paintings. Before the marble is removed, expert stone workers hang on ropes from the sides of the nearly 1,600-meter-high mountain. They use iron bars to dig at its sides. They try to remove loose rock that could fall and hurt other workers. Franco Lerotti is the director of extraction work at the quarry. He notes that the tools used to take marble from the quarry have changed much over time. In the past, miners used simple hand tools. "Now we have diamond-tipped wires and saws and heavy earth-moving equipment," he said. Over the years, artists such as Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Joan Miro and Isamu Noguchi have used Altissimo marble for their works. Michelangelo would be pleased. I'm John Russell.   Alessandro Bianchi reported on this story for the Reuters news agency. John Russell adapted his report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor. _____________________________________________________________ Words in the Story   marble – n. a kind of stone that is often polished and used in buildings and statues extract – v. to remove (something) by pulling it out or cutting it out façade – n. the front of a building quarry – n. a place where large amounts of stone are dug out of the ground loose – adj. not connected securely

A Woman Police Chief Breaks Barriers in Pakistan

Cts, 12.08.2017 - 23:58
  Pakistani Rizwana Hameed made history last month when she became the first woman chief of a male police station in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province. The area is known for its conservative cultural and religious traditions. Women are rarely even permitted outside their homes in the area. Hameed has been a member of the provincial police force for 15 years. She has taken part in many crime investigations. She also has carried out raids on suspected terrorist bases. She says being the first woman officer to supervise a male police station in the area carries a lot of pressure. “It’s a difficult job for me,” she says. However, Hameed says she is enjoying the job and she says women can do everything men can do and more. “If men are asked to take on household responsibilities and babysitting, for the whole day, I don’t think they can handle them. Whereas women can easily handle professional responsibilities outside of the home also,” she said. Women in the surrounding area have not been willing to enter the police station with complaints. They do not want to discuss them openly with male police officers, says Hameed. She says the provincial capital city, Peshawar, is a “closed society” where women mainly stay at home. “Even if they are subjected to domestic violence they endure it and avoid publicly talking about it,” she says. But Hameed says her presence is “encouraging them to bring problems to the police station and their number is growing by the day.” This success has increased the willingness of local women to go to the police. Hameed says, “When their problems are solved they take back a message of satisfaction to their communities, which is emboldening other women to visit the police station.” Pashtun families in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have traditionally not supported women joining the police force. About 10 percent of police are women. But officials say examples of women police in the media are changing the way people think. Hameed says her new job makes family life a little difficult, but she has the support of her husband and other family members. The provincial police department also is working to get women from women’s schools to join the force. Hameed says she believes more women on the force will reduce domestic violence and other crimes against women. I’m Caty Weaver.   Ayaz Gul reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor. ________________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   handle – v. deal with complaint – n. making a statement of dissatisfaction domestic – adj. related to matters of the home endure – v. to deal with or accept something (difficult) for a long time emboldening – v. to make someone more likely to do something or take action encouraging – adj. to be supportive of personnel – n. people who work for a company, organization or government We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Afghan Boy Called 'Little Picasso' Shows Works in Serbia

Cum, 11.08.2017 - 23:58
  A 10-year-old refugee known for his artistic ability has held his first art show and donated all the money raised to a sick Serbian boy. Farhad Nouri has been called “the little Picasso” for his pictures and photographs. The Associated Press reported that examples of his work were shown in Belgrade. The boy has lived at a crowded migrant camp in the Serbian capital with his parents and two younger brothers for the past eight months. His family was forced to flee conflict and poverty in their home country of Afghanistan two years ago. They traveled through Greece and Turkey before arriving in Serbia. The boy's gift for art was recognized when he was taking language and painting training programs in Belgrade. Local aid groups organized the classes for refugees and migrants. "We quickly realized how talented he (Nouri) was and sent him to a painting school as well as a three-month photography workshop,” said Edin Sinanovic. “So this is a retrospective of what he learned there." Sinanovic is with the Refugees Foundation, a non-government organization (NGO). Among Nouri's works shown on the grounds of a Belgrade cafe were his drawings of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Harry Potter. His photos mostly include images from around the city. In addition to holding his first art show, "Farhad wanted to help someone,” Sinanovic said. So he chose to give any money raised to a six-year-old Serbian boy who needs money for his treatment after brain cancer. Nouri said he wanted to help someone else as well to show how important it is to be good to other people. "We all need kindness," he said. The boy dreams of one day moving to Switzerland to become a painter and a photographer. I’m Jonathan Evans.   The Associated Press news agency first reported on this story. George Grow adapted the report for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor. ________________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   migrant – n. a person who moves from place to place in an effort to find work workshop – n. a brief educational program for a relatively small group of people retrospective – n. a show or performance of works of an artist over a period of time drawing – n. a picture or image made with a pencil, pen or other writing instrument We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.  

Study: Farmer Suicides Increase Because of Climate Change

Cum, 11.08.2017 - 23:57
  When Rani’s husband took his own life, he left his family with debts they could not pay. Rani’s family farms in southern India. Now, she says her family’s farming days are over. “There are no rains,” Rani said. Rani is a 44-year-old woman from Tamil Nadu state. She was one of hundreds of farmers protesting in the capital New Delhi for increased government support for farmers. Her state has been affected by drought. “Even for drinking, we get water only once in 10 days,” she said. A recently released study suggests that more tragedies like Rani’s will happen. Higher temperatures are damaging crops and worsening droughts the study says. It argues that the temperature and the number of people who take their lives are linked. It states that for every one degree above 20 degrees Celsius on any day during the growing season, an average of about 70 suicides take place. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS. Scientists predict that the worldwide average temperature could rise up to 3 degrees by 2050. With hotter weather, more droughts and stronger storms are likely to take place. In addition, extreme weather changes could become more common. These changes could affect Indian farmers who depend on good weather for income. Tamma Carleton was the author of the study. She is a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley where she studies agriculture and resource economics. Carleton looked at numbers from India’s National Crime Records Bureau. She compared the number of people who took their own lives between 1967 and 2013 with other information on agricultural crops and temperature changes. Carleton estimated that hotter temperatures over the last 30 years “have already been responsible for over 59,000 suicides throughout India.” The study said that hotter temperatures were one of the reasons why there was a 6.8 percent increase in the number of people who took their own lives in India over 30 years. Vikram Patel is a psychiatrist and mental health expert with Harvard Medical School. Although he was not involved with the study, he helped write India’s first national mental health policy. Patel said farming is a risky job. He said the amount a farmer earns depends on the weather. And farming gets riskier with climate change. Patel said anything that affects their job negatively will affect farmers’ mental health. India has 1.3 billion people. For half of those people, agriculture is their source of income. Although farmers are an important part of Indian society, they have been struggling economically over the last 30 years. Many pressures weigh on India’s farmers Usually there is not a single reason for a person to take his or her own life. But, some reasons include losing crops, debt, poverty or a lack of community support. Farmers with a lot of debt may take their own lives so the government, in some cases, would give money to their families. “We may not be able to stop the world from warming, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something to address suicide,” Patel said. He said financial support and increased attention to mental health could help deal with the issue. Howard Frumkin is an environmental and occupational health professor at the University of Washington. He was also not involved in the study. Frumkin said the study shows that unfavorable weather leads to less crops, rural misery and more people taking their own lives. India’s farms are regularly being hit by strong storms, extreme drought and heat waves. This kind of weather is going to increase with higher temperatures. Some farmers in India still depend on rainfall instead of irrigation to water their crops. India’s farmers have held many protests for better crop prices, more help with loan repayments and water delivery systems among other issues. Such systems would help guarantee irrigation during droughts. Many farmers said they believe they have been ignored. Some are protesting at government offices and some have dumped large amounts of vegetables on roads to block traffic to bring attention to their situation. In the past month, hundreds of farmers have been protesting in a central New Delhi square. Some are holding human skulls that they say are from other farmers who have taken their own lives in Tamil Nadu. They say it will be a 100-day protest. They say they are protesting to “prevent the suicide of farmers who feed the nation.” On July 27, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh told lawmakers that 11,458 farmers took their own lives in 2016. That is the lowest number in 20 years. That year also had good temperatures and normal seasonal rains. Singh noted that for 2014 and 2015, the number of farmers who took their own lives increased by 9 percent. Those two years had a drought. The number of farmers who took their own lives reached 12,602 in 2015. Some reasons included financial failure, debt and other farming issues. Most of the people were farmers with less than two hectares of land. The author of the research noted that the study could not tell the difference between urban and rural people who took their own lives. That is because the crime records bureau only began separating the two categories in 1995. M. S. Swaminathan is a geneticist who is known for creating India’s Green Revolution in the 1960s. That was a movement to greatly increase agricultural productivity. He said, “Suicides occur due to extreme economic despair.” Swaminathan has carried out research suggesting that small temperature changes can hurt crop harvests. The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation works to solve farming problems related to climate change. Some of these include rising heat, drought and increasing salt levels in soil because of rising sea levels. Swaminathan said better crop insurance and quick compensation for crops lost to climate change “will help to avoid a sense of hopelessness that leads to suicide.” I’m Mario Ritter. And I’m Olivia Liu.   Katy Daigle wrote this story for the Associated Press. Olivia Liu adapted this story with additional materials for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor. ______________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   drought – n. a severe lack of rain psychiatrist – n. a medical doctor that works in mental health negatively – adj. having a harmful effect misery – n. severe suffering irrigation – n. systems to bring water to crops delivery – n. the act of bringing something compensation – n. money given to make up for the loss of something We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

Extreme Heat May Make South Asia Unlivable

Per, 10.08.2017 - 23:53
  A scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says people will not be able to live in parts of South Asia by the year 2100 if little is done to stop climate change. Elfatih Eltahir studies the world’s climate. He was among the writers of a recently published report in the journal Science Advances. He said, “the heat wave intensity will reach magnitudes that have not been observed before.” Eltahir’s study takes humidity into consideration, along with heat. The researchers believe the combination of the heat and humidity will make areas in South Asia difficult to live in. The researchers used a measurement called “wet bulb temperature.” It is based on air temperature and the amount of water in the air. A very high wet bulb temperature prevents humans from being able to cool themselves by sweating. The researchers say that if the wet bulb temperature reaches 35 degrees Celsius, it would feel like an air temperature of 72 degrees Celsius. That would make it difficult for humans to cool down, even in the shade. Parts of the world where there is poverty, large populations, and heat and humidity would be in danger. That includes places in South Asia, such as: the Ganges River valley, northeastern India, and Bangladesh. Other areas that might be affected are the eastern coast of India, the Chota Nagpur Plateau, northern Sri Lanka, and the Indus valley of Pakistan. The researchers said people in those areas would be in danger within about 50 years if unlimited heat-trapping gasses continue to be put into the atmosphere. Alexis Berg is a hydro-climatologist at Princeton University. He was not involved in the study. He said that the temperatures in South Asia would not remain high permanently. But even a short heat wave could be deadly. The researchers also noted the possibility that heat trapping gasses will not be reduced at all but continue to be released into the atmosphere. Scientists call this worst-case scenario RCP 8.5. The study’s writers said that if RCP 8.5 takes place, about 30 percent of the world’s population would regularly be exposed to dangerous temperatures. Matthew Huber is a climate scientist at Purdue University in the state of Indiana. He was not involved with the study. However, he called RCP 8.5 “a death sentence for a large fraction of the world.” But he also said that kind of climate change can be avoided. “The choice is very much ours,” he said. “It does not require impossible effort to avoid RCP 8.5.” Huber said the study was more complete than earlier reports about heat. Berg, the Princeton scientist, said there is still time to prevent the worst case scenario. He also said, however, that without change, the heat will continue to get more dangerous. I’m Dan Friedell.   Ben Thompson wrote this story for VOANews.com. Dan Friedell adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor. Do you think we will be able to slow down global warming? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page. ______________________________________________________________ Words in This Story magnitude – n. the size, extent, or importance of something humidity – n. the amount of moisture in the air sweat – v. to produce a clear liquid from your skin when you are hot or nervous shade – n. an area of slight darkness that is produced when something blocks the light of the sun worst-case scenario – n. the worst description of what could possible happen fraction – n. a part or amount of something

Singapore Investigating Man After Tooth Picks Found in Bus Seat

Per, 10.08.2017 - 23:50
  A 60-year-old man in Singapore is under investigation for putting toothpicks into a seat on a public bus. Police in Singapore are describing the incident as a suspected case of “mischief.” Through extensive questioning and with the help of video evidence, “officers … established the identity of the suspect," a police statement said this week. The man could receive a two-year jail sentence if he is found guilty. The Reuters news agency says pictures of three toothpicks sticking up from the bus seat were published on Facebook in July. A Facebook user said she saw the three small sticks just as she was preparing to sit down. She urged other users to look closely at their seat before sitting down. Her message was shared more than 2,500 times. Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Yet one of the government’s public information signs reads, “Low crime doesn’t mean no crime.” Judges are known for taking firm action against violators of minor crimes. Those found guilty of damaging or destroying property have been sentenced to canings -- beatings with a stick. The wealthy city-state bans the import of chewing gum, in part, to keep public spaces clean. Two years ago, a smoker was fined about $14,550 for throwing cigarette ends out of a window of his home. The police said investigations into the case of the toothpicks were continuing. The crime carries a punishment of up to two years in jail, a fine or both. I’m Jonathan Evans.   The Reuters news agency reported this story. George Grow adapted the report for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor. _____________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   toothpick – n. an instrument for removing food particles trapped between teeth mischief – n. a cause of damage, harm or evil chewing gum – n. a sweetened, soft material that people bite on, but do not eat   We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

More than Half of India's Languages May Disappear

Per, 10.08.2017 - 00:00
  More than half of the languages spoken by India’s 1.3 billion people may disappear over the next 50 years. The People’s Linguistic Survey of India, or PSLI, recently made the comment during the launch of the latest volume in its planned 50-volume study of the country’s languages. There are as many as 780 languages spoken in India, the PSLI said. The scholars called for increased efforts to preserve the languages spoken by India’s tribal communities. G.N. Devy, the chair of PSLI said, “At least 400 Indian languages are at the risk of dying in [the] coming 50 years.” India has already lost 250 languages in the last 50 years. Devy added that, when a language is lost, so is a culture. The scholars and teachers at PSLI document Indian languages in order to save cultural heritage and diversity. Most of the at-risk languages are spoken by tribal communities. Children from these communities sometimes receive no education. If they do go to school, they are taught in one of India’s 22 officially recognized languages. Ashis Nandy is a political psychologist. He said India has many old languages, some spoken for the last 1,000 years. He said such languages are “surviving somehow in India, but we are hardly passing them on.” Devy said the PSLI will soon start work on a project to document about 6,000 living languages in the world. Their report is expected to come out by 2025. I’m Ashley Thompson.   Reuters reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor. _________________________________________________________________ Words in This Story volume - n.  a book that is part of a series or set of books preserve - v.  to keep (something) safe from harm or loss   

Madrid the Latest City to Open Public Napping Space

Per, 10.08.2017 - 00:00
  A Spanish company has opened the first public napping space in Madrid. Siesta & Go promises Spaniards a quiet and restful getaway in the middle of the city’s business center. Napping spaces are nothing new; places to rest already exist in other big cities, such as Tokyo, London, Brussels and New York. But the idea would appear to work well with the culture of Spain, where people traditionally take an afternoon nap, called a siesta. Siesta & Go invites people to try a different place to lie down and enjoy the qualities of a short rest. “The siesta is considered one of those small pleasures of life, especially recommended in every way for its clear health benefits,” the company says on its website.   The Madrid nap bar recently opened with 19 beds. They can be rented by the minute or by the hour. People can choose either a private or shared room. An hour of napping time inside a private room costs about $15. The company also offers areas to work, as well as armchairs, newspapers and coffee for those not wishing to sleep. Philip Marco is one happy customer. Marcos says he gets tired during the day because he has a long drive to work. He says a siesta is the perfect way to build up energy. “I come for about 30 minutes, something like that. Sleep 30 minutes and that usually is enough for me to be able to get through the evening.” Siesta & Go provides all bedding, clean nightshirts and other materials. Nappers can request to be woken up when their time is up. While many Spaniards love their midday naps, others like Carlos Villarroja say they are just too busy to keep this tradition. “It’s a Spanish tradition, but I think it’s more of a legend than a tradition. Because with the lifestyle we have, the working hours, the rhythm of life that all Spanish workers have, you have very little free time for a siesta, in my case, at least during the week.” But many health experts believe there is evidence that taking a short nap can be very good for the body and mind. Guy Meadows is founder of the Sleep School, which aims to help people get better sleep. He says power naps can increase energy, improve memory and help people stay focused, along with other benefits. “Actually, we’ve seen that you can double an individual’s ability to solve a creative problem after a power nap, than if they hadn’t [napped].” Siesta & Go cites scientific studies suggesting that taking a siesta can also prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure and reduce stress. I’m Bryan Lynn.   Faiza Elmasry reported this story for VOA News. Bryan Lynn adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor. We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page. _____________________________________________________________ Words in This Story nap – n. a short period of sleep recommend – v. to say something or someone is good and should be chosen; to suggest rent – v. money paid in return for being able to use property belonging to someone else legend – n. a story from the past that is believed by many people, but cannot be proven as true rhythm – n. a repeated series of events or activities benefit – n. something that produces a good effect afternoon – n. the period between the middle of the day and sunset  

Calls to Remove Statue of a Chinese God from Indonesian City

Ça, 09.08.2017 - 23:37
  Community organizations on the Indonesian island of Java are demanding that a statue of a Chinese god be destroyed. Protesters from the organizations demonstrated in the city of Surabaya on Monday. They gathered in front of the East Java Provincial Legislative Building to demand the demolition of the warrior god statue. They claim it does not represent Indonesian culture. The brightly colored, 30-meter-tall statue stands on the grounds of the Kwan Seng Bio temple in Tuban, East Java. The statue is now covered in cloth. Chinese Indonesians are a minority in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Local Chinese Indonesians say the protesters do not understand that the Confucian god directs people to oppose war. One local official told VOA the only problem with the statue is that it lacks a building permit. Religious divides raise tension The protest over the statue of the Chinese god comes at a time of religious tension in Indonesia. In Jakarta, Islamist protests against the city’s Chinese Christian governor, Basuki "Ahok" Purnama, turned violent during his recent re-election campaign. He is now serving a two-year jail sentence after a court found him guilty of blasphemy charges. Purnama failed to win re-election in the April voting. He lost to Anies Baswedan, whose campaign was backed by supporters of political Islam. In July, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo banned the group Hizbut Tahrir, which supports creation of an Islamic caliphate. And while the country is an officially secular – not supporting any one religion -- public support for Islamic sharia law has been on the rise. Didik Muadi helped to organize the Tuban protest. He told local media that many consider the huge Confucian statue an insult to Indonesia. The statue has been part of the local landscape since July. At the time, the chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly said he hoped Indonesians and foreigners would come to see the statue. Statue's height seen as a threat His comments did not please Didik Maudi, however. He said, “If they want to make a memorial statue, it should not be that high...Maybe it should be at most two meters high, and inside the temple, if it is a memorial. This statue is so tall, it’s as if the god of war has taken over Tuban, and we can’t permit that!”    Gatot Santosom heads the Regional Association of Chinese-Indonesians in East Java. He said the protest was based on a lack of understanding of the statue. He said, “They misunderstood and thought the statue is of a general, that we are showing respect to a war general, but that’s not true...What we respect is what he symbolizes - loyalty, our loyalty to humanity - and he defends justice.” Where's the building permit? Abu Cholifah is a member of the Tuban Regency Legislative Body. He is blaming outsiders for the debate about the statue. He said they wanted to turn a statue of a Chinese god into a political issue in a nation with a long history of oppressing the Chinese community. If there is any issue with the warrior god statue, he added, it is that the local government failed to issue a building permit before it was put up. I’m Jonathan Evans.   Petrus Riski reported this story for VOANews.com. George Grow adapted his report for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor. ______________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   temple – n. a building for religious services or uses blasphemy – n. the act of showing disrespect for God or something considered holy caliphate – n. the rule of a chief Muslim leader landscape – n. all the recognizable mountains, rivers and other things on a piece of land or in the countryside We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.  

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