Thursday, 31 March 2011

Relationship Tips - Love at First Sight

Teen weight-loss inspiration.

Tyler Greene has lost 50 pounds and wants to inspire other kids to do the same. He talked to HLN's Richelle Carey.

Swiss Luxury Watchmakers Under Strain From Rising Demand

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg's Olivia Sterns reports from Basel, Switzerland, on the impact of rising demand for luxury watches on Swiss manufacturers. Patek Philippe SA Chairman Thierry Stern speaks in this report.

Swiss Luxury Watchmakers Under Strain From... por Bloomberg

A Multi-Million Dollar Penthouse Overlooking NY

Former technology research executive Gideon Gartner is offering his five-bedroom penthouse on the Upper West Side for $29.5 million. The lavish apartment combines three units and offers panoramic views of New York City.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Word of the day: stick with it

stick with it

= to continue doing something although it is difficult.

'Things are hard at the moment, but if we stick with it, they are bound to get better.'

(Definition of stick with it from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

America's housing market.

The ten-city composite index fell by an annual rate of 2.7% in January—it is now over 30% below its April 2006 peak. House prices in 12 of the 20 cities tracked by Standard & Poor's fell in January and only two cities, Washington and San Diego, recorded gains on the previous year.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Can caffeine make us healthy?

We're always being told to cut down on caffeine for our wellbeing – yet new studies suggest it could protect against a range of diseases.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

For years we have been told to beware of caffeine. Now we seem to have turned in the opposite direction, with studies claiming that moderate amounts of coffee may reduce headaches and protect against diabetes, Alzheimer's and heart disease, among others. So where does the truth lie?  

Peter Rogers, head of experimental psychology, says some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine, while others develop a tolerance. "One of the things caffeine has been found to do is increase blood pressure and make your hands shake a little," he says. "But actually this depends if you're a person who regularly consumes caffeine."

You can even develop a dependence of caffeine so that without it, you can feel fatigued and headachey, he says. "That's why if coffee drinkers haven't had caffeine for a while – for example, overnight – the coffee they have in the morning is likely to make them feel more energetic and alert, while for a non-regular drinker, it will make them rather nervous."

So while some studies say coffee stimulates the brain and makes drinkers feel more awake, Rogers and his team have found the "caffeine high" may just be a reaction to the body desiring the drug. Caffeine may even have radically different effects on the sexes. Studies from Bristol University have found that drinking caffeinated coffee boosted a woman's performance in stressful situations, but had the opposite effect on men, who became less confident and took longer to complete tasks once they had several coffees.

If you want to cure a hangover, a good old cup of coffee and aspirin really is best, according to a new study from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Confirming what many have suspected for years, the research found that the caffeine in coffee and the anti-inflammatory ingredients of aspirin reacted against the chemical compounds of ethanol, or pure alcohol, which – even in small doses – can bring on headaches.

Drinking lots of coffee can also boost sports performance by as much as 6 per cent – but, critically, only in any activity where muscles are not being worked to the limit, meaning coffee or tea could benefit a long-distance runner but not a sprinter.

An analysis of 59 studies just published on the BioMed Central Cancer website suggests that coffee consumption may reduce your overall risk of getting cancer and that it may be inversely associated with the risk of bladder, breast, pharynx, pancreas and prostate cancers and leukemia, among others. One study even discovered that caffeine can cut the risk of skin cancer by more than a third.

But women who drink more than four cups of coffee a day increase their risk of developing breast cancer by a third, according to Harvard University. A high caffeine intake can also increase the chance of developing larger tumours, which are harder to treat.

Doctors often tell patients to quit caffeine, but that may not be necessary, Rogers says. "It seems to me odd to be telling someone to give up something they enjoy and when there's no real evidence."

He adds: "Not to undermine the importance of my own research, but tea and coffee are things to worry about so much less than if you're a smoker, overweight or have a poor diet."

Word of the day: quite.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Video: A controversy.

Word of the day: Six-pack.


1. a package containing six units, esp six cans of beer

2. a set of highly developed abdominal muscles in a man, as in: These guys are proudly showing off their six-pack abs.

Quiz: Replies - Social Expressions in English - Updated.

Quiz: Signs in English.

Quiz: Past Simple or Present Perfect?

Recipe: Chocolate Mousse


Two bars of 70 percent cocoa dark chocolate    

1 nob of butter


300ml double cream

Tea spoon vanilla paste

Two table spoons of sugar

2 Eggs.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, with the butter. Add a pinch of salt.
Now whisk the cream for a minute or so, so it thickens slightly but before it goes too thick. Now add the vanilla and sugar. Mix. Now separate two eggs. Put the whites in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks. Mix the egg yolks into the cream mix.

Now add the melted chocolate into the cream. Mix well. Now gently fold in the eggs whites. Fold until well mixed. Now let the mousee stand in the fridge for half an hour.

Serve with strawberries in a glass, and maybe some chocolate shavings.. to make it even more chocolatey!

Concern Over Japan Sea Radioactivity

The latest Sky News video headlines.

Coupling - BBC

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Governments, academics and pollsters are hot on the trail of happiness.

MARCH 26, 2011

Governments, academics and pollsters are hot on the trail of happiness.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has launched an initiative to measure the national mood in a way that isn't captured by traditional economic statistics. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German legislators are looking into similar programs. U.S. government researchers and Gallup pollsters are asking hundreds of thousands of Americans each year how satisfied they are with their lives.

But statisticians' efforts to measure happiness are ridden with uncertainty. Around the world, people tend to describe themselves as happy even when they express many specific complaints and doubts about their lives or their government. Some economists say that even if a reliable happiness test could be devised, it would be risky to craft policy based on a broad metric. Instead, they say, happiness is more reliably reflected in things that are objectively measured, such as income, health and living conditions.

Under Mr. Cameron's direction, the U.K.'s Office for National Statistics is looking at how to assess well being by soliciting feedback on Facebook and Twitter and in more than 100 public meetings around the country.

The U.K. researchers are hoping to produce a measure that would be comparable with other countries. But researchers aren't sure whether national differences reflect true variations in happiness or merely point to linguistic and cultural differences. They note, for example, that Latin American countries routinely score higher than would be expected based on variables such as income, while Asian countries score lower.

Some happiness-survey skeptics point out another potential problem: People are, by and large, fairly happy, or at least say they are when surveyed.

Richard Layard, an economist at the London School of Economics, is an advocate of trying to track happiness as "a basic measure of the progress of a society." Its subjectivity isn't a problem, in his view: "The most important things in life are subjective."

MySpace loses millions of users in a few weeks.

Latest statistics suggest attempts to kick new life into MySpace may be failing.

Tech industry analysts comScore say figures show MySpace lost more than 10 million unique users worldwide between January and February.

There were almost 63 million users of MySpace in February 2011, down from more than 73 million.

Year on year the site has lost almost 50 million users, down from close to 110 million in February 2010.

The loss of users comes despite a series of changes to the site to make it more about music.

It was the social network site that helped launch the careers of artists like Arctic Monkeys, Kate Nash and Lily Allen.

But so far this year MySpace has already announced plans to cut half its workforce.

Falling numbers Around 500 staff are going worldwide.

Five years ago it was booming and for many was the first place to visit to talk to friends and listen to music.

But the arrival of sites likes Facebook has changed the face of social networking.

In the UK, 2.3 million people used the site in February 2011.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp bought the company for £330 million back in 2005.

If they were to sell today, they might get as little as £50 million for it.

MySpace boss Mike Jones has been putting a brave face on the falling numbers.

He said the site is no longer a social network and is instead an "entertainment destination".

But with competition from YouTube, streaming services and increased file-sharing it faces tough times.

Have you ever been in an accident?

Paul from England talks about a time he was in a crash.


Paul's accident.

  1. What nationality is Paul?

  2. American.

  3. Has Paul ever been in an accident?

  4. Yes, once in France.
    Yes, once in Thailand.
    Yes, once in England.

  5. Why did Paul have an accident?

  6. Because he was driving too fast.
    Because he wasn't wearing a helmet.
    Because he was riding on a very bumpy road.

  7. Why wasn't Paul seriously hurt in the crash?

  8. Because he was wearing a helmet.
    Because he could take control of the motorbike.
    Because he could stop before hitting a large rock.

  9. How did Paul explain why he was involved in this accident?

  10. He was driving too fast over the speed limit.
    Roads are too bumpy in that country.
    He was too young and irresponsible at that time.

The meaning and usage of the word ACTUALLY.

An English teacher shows how to use "each other" and "one another" in sentences.

Cartoon of the day.

Thanks to:

Quiz: Confusing Words.

Brazilians and Chinese Rediscover America as Tourist Spending Surges.

Brazilian and Chinese visitors led a resurgence in foreign tourism spending within the U.S. in the first half of the year, giving hope to domestic hoteliers, airline companies and others that the travel-spending slump of 2008 and 2009 is over, according to a report released Wednesday.

In 2010, expenses of Brazilian tourists abroad rose from US$ 16.422 billion, a historic record, according to the Central Bank so much so that Brazilian officials are bound to raise the so-called IOF (a tax over purchases overseas using credit cards) from 2, 38% to 6, 38%, according to Brazilian newspaper Estado de São Paulo. Such measure aims to curb consumption. In December 2010 alone, the expenses of Brazilians reached US$ 1.726 billion.

Foreign tourists spent about 20% more in the US during the first six months of 2010 than they did a year earlier, Visa reported. American citizens also boosted their spending abroad, increasing travel purchases on their Visa cards by 9.3% compared to the same period in 2009, the company said.

The spending increase from overseas reflects what travel industry members are hoping is a rebound in foreign tourism spending, which dropped 12% in 2009 to $32.9 billion. Europeans in particular appeared to cut back substantially on U.S. travel last year, when British citizens decreased their spending in the U.S. by 26% and Germans cut spending by 15%, according to Visa.

Brazilian and Chinese tourists showed the largest increases in this year's surge, combining to spend more than $1.1 billion during the first half of the year and boosting spending by more than 70% each.

Whether the spending boost will hold for the second half of the year remains to be seen, especially with high oil prices leading to higher plane tickets, as well as issues such as unrest in The Middle East and earthquake/tsunami disaster in Japan.

Chinese and Brazilians are likely to keep spending abroad, for which the travel industry is deeply grateful.

Blackberry looks to uncertain future.

The smartphone has inspired devotion among users but the company risks losing its way in the market.

Saturday, 26 March 2011 

Obama had to change the rules to bring his beloved BlackBerry into the White House, while celebrities from Paris Hilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger to Lady Gaga are rarely spotted without theirs. Some customers of the smartphones, made by Research in Motion (RIM), jokingly refer to them as "Crackberries", because of their addictive qualities.

On the surface all seemed well on Thursday when the Waterloo, Ontario-based group posted strong full-year revenues that hit $19.9bn in the year to the end of February, up a third over a year earlier, as it shipped 52.3 million phones.

Co-chief executive Jim Balsillie was bullish about the company's position and talked of "laying a strong foundation for its expanding market opportunity". Yet the share price tumbled as much as 12 per cent in after-hours trading on Nasdaq as investors showed their dismay at the management's outlook for the company.

Mr Balsillie admitted that growth would be hit after increased research and development, as well as sales and marketing, around the launch of its new tablet and the overhaul of its operating system. Geoff Blaber, an analyst at CCS Insight, said: "The investors were alarmed about the outlook. It looks like the next quarter will just see more competition as the company goes through a major transition." He added that after Thursday's results: "There is uncertainty, and investors hate uncertainty."

RIM is betting much on the PlayBook. It describes the device as the world's first "professional-grade tablet". When it goes on sale next month it will see the debut of BlackBerry's new top-end operating system, QNX, which will also be rolled out to its higher-end phones released in 2012. "This will be the most significant development for RIM since the launch of the first BlackBerry.

Kris Thompson, an analyst at National Bank Financial, said: "No doubt the company is in a transition period." The question after shifting from a corporate to a consumer device, is whether it can deal with the challenges it faces in 2011.

RIM was founded in 1984 by its current co-chief executive Mike Lazaridis when he was an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo. Mr Balsillie, whose responsibilities include corporate strategy and business development, joined the group six years later. It started making communications hardware and software before introducing its first smartphone in 1999 which it was quickly embraced by the business community. The success over the past decade saw the number of employees soar from just 200 in 1998 to 14,000 last year.

The group's phones became the byword for corporate devices, with businesses especially keen on the simple and secure emailing systems. The real surprise came when the phones became popular with consumers. Mr Blaber said: "The consumer found BlackBerry before BlackBerry found the consumer." It became a huge hit among teenagers, driven by the success of its free instant messaging platform BlackBerry Messenger, known as BBM. "Message heavy users prefer keys, and in that space, BlackBerry dominates," Mr Blaber said.

One source close to a UK operator said there was another problem. While scores of teenagers use the phones, they predominantly use the less lucrative pay-as-you-go deals. When the leave school, he said, increasingly they are moving to Apple and Android phones.

BlackBerry is losing market share, according to figures from Gartner. Sales of the phones have declined from almost a fifth of the market in 2009 to 16 per cent last year, when it was overtaken by Android. Part of the problem, analysts said, was that BlackBerry did not have a high-end smartphone to challenge the iPhone or the latest Android devices. It tried to enter the market with the release of the Torch last July.

Mr Blaber said: "There is so much more competition in the high end now than 18 months ago. BlackBerry has to cut its price more than ever before."

He added: "It has lost share in the US especially. We're yet to see it in Europe, primarily because of its strength in pre-pay. There are fears it is coming, though."

Sales in the US fell for a fifth quarter, the company revealed in its results. The industry is watching intently and all eyes are on RIM's BlackBerry World annual event in May. Mr Balsillie said "your jaw will drop" when the company unveils its new "superphones" and many feel it is crucial time for the company. One industry insider said: "Sales are still good but the future is a little bit hazy. RIM is doing good work but there are definitely challenges it faces."

OMG! Oxford English Dictionary adds new words!

OMG! It is no longer a just a teenage expression, but officially a word found in the dictionary.  

"FYI" (for your information), "LOL" (laughing out loud) and "OMG" (oh my god) are all now formally recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary, one of the world's principal English-language dictionaries.

These terms may have resulted from the character limits in texts and tweets, but have since been adopted as commonly used expressions in everyday speech and print.

Graeme Diamond, chief editor of new words for the Oxford dictionary, explained what it takes for a new word to make the grade: "You have to show that the word has been in usage for a decent length of time and, most importantly, that the word is used and understood by a wide audience."

One new entry to the Oxford dictionary is "WAG" -- an abbreviation for "wives and girlfriends" used to refer to the partners of soccer players.

Introduced by a British newspaper article in 2002, it lay dormant for four years. Then, with huge media attention on England's footballers during the 2006 World Cup, "WAG" became a commonly used and understood expression.

The Oxford English Dictionary heralds itself as "the last word on words for over a century" -- and, with four updates each year, it certainly keeps up and keeps "hip" (slang), with the English language. Other examples are BTW (which stands for 'by the way'), TKS (thanks) and others more commonly known, such as ASAP (as soon as possible) and XING (crossing - a sign widely used in The US).

Take the word "heart" for example. A new "sense" was added to it as a verb, recognizing slogans such as "I heart NY".

According to a statement from Oxford, "it it may be the first English usage to develop via the medium of T-shirts and bumper-stickers."

Friday, 25 March 2011

Cartoon of the day

Quiz: Pronouns and Possessives

Quiz: Exceptions and Curiosities - Advanced

Household wealth down 23% in 2 years.

24 March, 2011

The average American family's household net worth declined 23% between 2007 and 2009, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.

A rare survey of U.S. households, first performed in 2007 but repeated in 2009 in order to gauge the effects of the recession, reveals the median net worth of households fell from $125,000 in 2007 to $96,000 in 2009.

Titled "Surveying the Aftermath of the Storm," the report offers a broad look at how the financial crisis impacted individual households.

It is widely known that the 2008 financial crisis resulted in the vaporization of trillions of dollars in household wealth. But Federal Reserve officials said Thursday the new report offers a look at exactly how hard the recession hit families, and how they reacted.

Families that owned stock saw their portfolios drop by more than a third to $12,000 from $18,500, on average. The value of real estate decreased by an average of $18,700.

And families took on more debt, pushing median total debt levels to $75,600 from $70,300. They also made less money.

Interestingly, families below the median national income in 2007 actually saw their earnings increase by 2009. Meanwhile, families that started above the national average in 2007 saw their incomes decline.

Families in the top 10% of net worth in 2007 saw their incomes decline by 13% on average, a phenomenon the Fed attributed to large declines in capital gains and in business, farm or self-employment income.

The report also reveals that some families are doing quite well.

"Although over 60% of families saw their wealth decline over the two-year period, a sizable fraction of households experienced gains in wealth," the report says.

But it's hard to pin down what made those families successful. "Shifts in wealth do not appear to be correlated in a simple way with families' characteristics," the authors write.

The report's authors also make the point that Americans appear to be reacting to the recession in a counterproductive way.

The data shows that Americans have increased their savings.

That means less money is being pumped into the economy.


'Dolce & Gabbana' .

Quote of the day.

"Luck is believing you're lucky."

by Tennessee Williams

Sexual Confidence - Ranking

According to Durex, 73.1% of Americans are confident that they know how to have a happy and satisfying sex life, which makes the United States rank twelfth out of twenty-six countries ranked in that category. Brazil ranks first, with 79.6% of Brazilians confident that they know how to have a happy and satisfying sex life.

Teacher's note: Do you?

Food Fears Ripple Around the World

More countries put restrictions on food imports from Japan, while bottled water in Tokyo is still in short supply after a radiation scare. WSJ's Mariko Sanchanta and Yumiko Ono discuss.

Just for fun: How To Kiss Someone Good Night.

Brazil big market for Google

You’re watching Brazil big market for Google. See the Web's top videos on AOL Video

Thursday, 24 March 2011


Keep Calm and Carry On was a poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public under the threat of impending invasion.
In dark times like today, it still does raise the morale of all of us.

The glossy revolution: 'Cosmopolitan' launches in the Middle East.

The glossy revolution: 'Cosmopolitan' launches in the Middle East

Women are the same around the world – well, that's what the publishers of the new Middle East 'Cosmopolitan' hope. The magazine is famous for its lipstick-and-sex-tips format, but Joan Smith argues that despite appearances, it has also been an enduring engine for social change

Thursday, 24 March 2011 

Over the past couple of months, a wave of popular protest has shaken the Middle East. Regimes have been overthrown, towns have been seized from dictators and repressive regimes have reacted with escalating violence. In the middle of such tumult, it might not seem the ideal moment to launch a Middle East edition of one of the most instantly recognisable symbols of Western sexual freedom. But in an extraordinary accident of timing, Cosmopolitan will go on sale in half-a-dozen Middle Eastern countries next month.

At first glance, it's not easy to see the relevance of an American-based magazine full of fashion and sex tips on the streets of Manama or Riyadh. Some Western commentators have poured scorn on the idea, with The New York Observer recently dismissing Cosmopolitan as a "recycled sex-tip repository". That hasn't stopped the magazine's publishers preparing to sell a new edition in Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Lebanon, as well as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. But it's an under-statement to suggest that the Saudi authorities would find the British edition of Cosmopolitan a challenge. A recent cover offered "Explosive Sex Secrets!" and an interview with a transsexual who has the same name as Prince William's fiancée.

Cosmopolitan's publisher insists that the magazine's format varies from country to country to take account of local sensibilities. If the Middle East seems a potentially tricky market, especially in the light of unfolding events, it's worth recording that Cosmopolitan has long been an international brand, launching its 61st edition in Mongolia last year. The deciding factor, I suspect, isn't a mission to sell Western ideas about sex and fashion, but the publisher's judgment that there's a sufficiently large middle class with similar aspirations to women in Europe and the US.

At the same time, it's undeniable that the issues which persuaded Western women to buy Cosmopolitan, Ms magazine and The Female Eunuch four decades ago are rising to the surface in the Middle East. Earlier this month, demonstrations to mark International Women's Day were marred by violence in several countries. Women demanding gender equality and an end to sexual harassment were attacked in Tahrir Square by angry men.

If Cosmopolitan's message is more mixed today than it was in the past, its arrival in the Middle East may raise fewer eyebrows than might be expected. These societies were in flux even before the popular uprisings of the past couple of months, and relations between men and women are changing along with everything else. It would be a mistake to imagine that the lifestyle featured in Western women's magazines is unfamiliar to Middle Eastern women, or that they don't discuss intimate subjects to do with sex with sometimes startling frankness. Across the region, young people especially are being pulled in different directions, invited to embrace Islamist ideas on the one hand and globalised consumer culture on the other.

The fact that Cosmopolitan is moving into the Middle East, even on a small scale, is further evidence of that process. We're all participants and observers of a global civilisation where individual aspiration – for consumer goods, democracy, affluence and sexual freedom – is increasingly difficult for autocratic regimes to resist.


TV and the internet

TV and the internet

Mar 22nd 2011.

A FEW years ago, some media executives feared that people were abandoning television for the internet. That hasn’t happened. The most rigorous studies show that television-watching has not declined—if anything, it has increased. Couch potatoes are learning to multi-task, watching TV while tapping away at their laptops or smartphones. But how much do they multi-task, and what websites do they visit? New numbers from Nielsen, a firm that tracks all sorts of old- and new-media consumption, provide some answers.

The most striking thing is that multi-tasking is still fairly rare. During this year’s Academy Awards, only 11.6% of viewers used the fixed web at some point (Nielsen measures simultaneous TV-computer use but not yet TV-mobile use). Those who went online during the programme were connected to the internet for just over 30 minutes, or about 15% of the show’s duration. The pattern was similar during the Superbowl. Even during the Grammys, a pop awards ceremony that attracts young viewers, people who went online only did so for about 20% of the programme’s length.

Television is an extraordinarily dominant, absorbing medium that sucks up far more time than the internet. In December 2009, Nielsen estimated that 34% of internet users had the television on while surfing the net. But when tuning in for a programme, television-watchers used the internet only about 3% of the time. This dominance goes a long way to explaining why television has so far resisted the disruptive effect of technology.

And what do people do online while they are watching television? Most of all, they mess around on Facebook. According to Nielsen, Facebook was the most popular website during the Superbowl, the Grammys and the Academy Awards (normally Google is the most popular). also got more attention than it normally does. But the big winner was Zynga, a maker of free games. Its most famous game, Farmville, ranked 51st in overall web traffic during February 2011.

This is both good and bad news for old media firms. Good news because it suggests that television continues to attract audiences. Bad news because it is clear that efforts to encourage television viewers’ online behaviour (“visit our website!”) have not yet borne substantial fruit.

TV still rules in the media war.

Private, corporate jets are the new must-haves for wealthy, high-flying Chinese buyers

Japan's earthquake and fears of nuclear fallout are causing a surge in interest for long-term bunkers and shelters.

Skype CEO: Only 6% of users pay.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


Starbucks gets a facelift at 40.

CEO Howard Schultz discusses the coffee giant's plans to expand its products and its global presence.

Monday, 21 March 2011


The image of a female president and an African-American one greeting each other as the heads of state of the two largest economies in the Americas is in itself a mark of how much the world has changed.


A welcome as warm as the weather

A welcome as warm as the weather

Mar 21st 2011

AS SOON as Carnival was over, Rio de Janeiro started to look forward to its next big spectacle: a visit on March 20th by Barack Obama. The previous day, spent in Brasília with the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, had been billed as about trade—the United States is exporting more and more to Brazil, and hopes that demand in booming economies like Brazil’s will help it out of recession. But Rio was to be about fun, and about connecting with the Brazilian people rather than just with politicians.

In the event, Mr Obama put on a good show—but only for the television cameras.

The most substantial part of Mr Obama’s speech concerned recent big social changes in Brazil: the huge growth in the middle classes; the tens of millions who have exited poverty; and the efforts being made towards reducing violent crime in Rio’s favelas, or shantytowns. Earlier in the day he had visited one of the most famous, Cidade de Deus, or City of God, which gained worldwide notoriety when a 2002 film about Rio’s drug trade was set there. It is now host to one of 16 “pacifying police units”, or UPPs, that have been set up in the city in recent years. These community policing initiatives are extending the rule of law to poor neighbourhoods that were once the territory of drug gangs and corrupt police.

The very fact that the president of the United States could visit such a place at all was an acknowledgement that Rio, and indeed Brazil, are changing for the better.


Natural disasters.

Natural disasters.

Counting the cost .

Mar 21st 2011, 17:30 by The Economist online.

The Japanese earthquake could be the costliest disaster ever.

JAPAN is still reeling from the earthquake and tsunami that struck its north-east coast on March 11th, with the government struggling to contain a nuclear disaster and around 10,000 people still unaccounted for. Provisional estimates released today by the World Bank put the economic damage resulting from the disaster at as much as $235 billion, around 4% of GDP. That figure would make this disaster the costliest since comparable records began in 1965. The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, which caused some 250,000 deaths, does not feature on this chart. Economic losses there amounted to only $14 billion in today’s prices, partly because of low property and land values in the affected areas.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Macy's New Strategy



  1. What led Macy's come up with its new strategy My Macy's:

  2. They were losing market share for 15 consecutive months.
    Their sales fell for 15 consecutive months.
    They needed to update the store for more local taste.

  3. Why did they create a new position, the district planner?

  4. In order to identify and reposition local tastes and needs.
    In order to gain more market share.
    In order to manage local sales.

  5. Why was Chicago mentioned in the interview?

  6. A city which had very low sales in the last 15 months.
    A good example of how effective the new strategy can be.
    A more conservative city which is the target to Macy's.

  7. My Macy's has so far proved to be

  8. successful
    too early to evaluate

  9. In short, what is the new strategy of Macy's?

  10. To adapt to new tastes and needs of customers.
    To update its stores to a more conservative customer.
    To adapt stores to local tastes and needs to meet customer demands.

Summit 2 - Unit 3 - Dealing with adversity.

Key words:

RUBBLE: fragments of broken stones, bricks, etc.

TO SALVAGE: To save from loss or destruction.

OVERWHELMING: Overpowering in effect or strength

March 20, 2011
Many in devastated areas of Japan are still searching for missing loved ones. CNN's Kyung Lah reports from Kamaishi.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Cartoon of the day.

Cartoon of the day: Casual Friday

Past tense and Past perfect tense - Video Class and Quiz

Nasdaq has eyes on NYSE.

Nasdaq may be gearing up for a hostile bid to take over the NYSE, which already agreed to merge with Germany's Deutsche Boerse.


Nasdaq has eyes on NYSE.

  1. How much did Nasdaq bid for NYSE?

  2. 10 billion dollars
    5 billion dollars

  3. What seems to be an obstacle to the takeover?

  4. An agreement with London Exchange.
    An agreement with Deutsche Borse.

  5. What will happen to NYSE if it fails to merge with Deutsche Borse?

  6. It will have to pay a high break-up fee.
    It will have to pay 10 billion dollars to Deutsche Borse.

  7. It is the first time Nasdaq has tried to merge with another exhange.

  8. True

  9. According to the video, the stocks at Nasdaq are...and NYSE are....

  10. low - high
    high - low

Japan quake threatens global supply chain.

Nearly 20% of Florida homes are vacant.

Nearly 20% of Florida homes are vacant.
March 18, 2011.

It's not always easy to feel sorry for sunny Florida. But they just got hit with another blow.
On Thursday, the Census Bureau revealed that 18% -- or 1.6 million -- of the Sunshine State's homes are sitting vacant. That's a rise of more than 63% over the past 10 years.

Having this amount of oversupply on the market will keep home prices depressed and slow any recovery.
During the housing boom, Florida was among the hottest real estate markets in the nation. Homes were snapped up by the state's growing population as well as hordes of investors confident that prices would continue to soar.
"You'd drive through downtown Miami and see 30 or 40 cranes sticking up in the air," said Michael Larson, a housing market analyst for Weiss Research.
The bust brought an end to that. Development ground to a halt. Retirees stopped relocating. And prices started falling and vacancies rising.

Not helping is the fact that the state's rate of population growth slowed in the second half of the last decade to just 5.7%.


Quiz: Answers - Questions.

Life expectancy is still rising – despite obesity epidemic

Life expectancy is still rising – despite obesity epidemic

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Friday, 18 March 2011

We are living longer despite getting fatter, and there is no sign yet that the increase in life expectancy is coming to an end, according to a study.

A baby born today in the West can look forward to between six and eight years of extra life compared with one born in 1970. Moreover, Britons are outliving Americans, despite the US having a higher national income and the highest spending on healthcare.
Researchers say life expectancy is increasing in almost all European countries for the first time in decades.

But obesity has also been rising in the UK, from 7 per cent of adults in 1980 to 23 per cent in 2009. Rates are even higher in the US. Obesity is known to increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure – so why is life expectancy not declining?

Professor David Leon, an expert on population health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who analysed the figures in the International Journal of Epidemiology, said: "There is a tendency for people to talk about things going wrong. But it is important the public are made aware that, so far, things are going right."

However, he warned there was no room for complacency and that many important questions remained about the drivers of the trends – such as the decline in smoking since 1970 and the fact heart disease deaths have fallen faster in the UK than in any other western European country.

But a little extra weight might also be good for you. Professor Leon said: "If you get poorly you lose weight. So if you fall sick it may be better if you have got something in reserve to call on."

Overall, people who were overweight had a lower mortality rate than people who were underweight, obese or normal.

However, Professor Leon warned that quality of life was just as important.
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