<![CDATA[The Best of English - The Best of English - WORLD NEWS BLOG]]>Sat, 17 Feb 2018 21:03:41 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Venezuela president Maduro blames Obama for riots after banning 100-bolivar note]]>Mon, 19 Dec 2016 09:40:25 GMThttp://thebestofenglish.com/2/post/2016/12/venezuela-president-maduro-blames-obama-for-riots-after-banning-100-bolivar.html
Venezuelans are halted by the Venezuelan National Guard are they try to enter Colombia after President Nicolas Maduro announced he is removing the 100-bolivar banknote - photo REUTERS
There is looting and rioting in Venezuela, where people have been breaking into warehouses in search of food, as the availability for cash in the country is depleting. Many have also rushed to the Colombian border in hopes of buying food and medicine.

The clashes are in response to last week's announcement by President Nicolas Maduro which said the Venezuelan government is removing the country's highest banknote, the 100-bolivar note. Maduro said that the removal of the banknote is an effort to quell organized crime and the black market. 

Maduro has accused USA president Barack Obama of encouraging the riots as an attempt to overthrow his left-wing government. On television, Maduro said that 300 people have been arrested for looting.

Even though Maduro has postponed the removal of the banknote until early January 2017, many stores are already refusing to accept it.

Data from central banks suggests that there are over six billion 100-bolivar notes in circulation, which is about half of the country's currency. The 100-bolivar note is being replaced with a 500-bolivar note.

The 100-bolivar note is worth about $0.02 US dollars.

looting - stealing by many people at once
rioting - big crowds of people causing conflict in public
to deplete - to disappear; to (slowly) have no more
clash (noun) - (physical) conflict
to quell - to stop; to suppress
black market - the illegal buying and selling system in a country
to ovethrow -  to bring down the present government
left-wing - communist / socialist 
to postpone - to delay
in circulation - in use within a country / region
<![CDATA[President-elect Trump: 'I don't want China dictating to me - we're being hurt very badly by China']]>Mon, 12 Dec 2016 13:11:28 GMThttp://thebestofenglish.com/2/post/2016/12/president-elect-trump-were-being-hurt-very-badly-by-china.html
President-elect Donald Trump has said that the USA "is being hurt very badly by China" - photo by Fox News video
In a television interview, President-elect Donald Trump has said, "I don't want China dictating to me" in reference to China's angry reaction and comments concerning his recent communications with Taiwan. 

About a week and a half ago, President-elect Trump received a call from Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen, congratulating him on his victory in the 2016 USA presidential elections. The call greatly angered China because, according to their One China Policy, there is only one China and Taiwan is only one part of China. 

The USA broke official ties with Taiwan in 1979 in support of the "Once-China Policy". The USA has maintained friendly, yet unofficial ties with Taiwan since then.

In the interview on Fox News, Trump said, "I fully understand the 'One China' policy, but I don't understand why we have to be bound by the 'One China' policy unless we make a deal with China, having to do with other things, including trade." 

Trump said that the USA is "being hurt very badly by China" because China is manipulating their currency in order to maintain a trade advantage, heavily and unfairly taxing USA products entering China, building a massive military complex within the South China Sea, and failing to help the USA and the world deal with the belligerent North Korea.

"China must resolutely battle Mr Trump, only after a few serious rebuffs then will he truly understand that China and other global powers cannot be bullied,"  China's Global Times said in response. The China news medium said that while Donald Trump may be a business man, "in the field of diplomacy, he is as ignorant as a child".

On Friday, China flew a nuclear bomber jet outside of its borders over the South China Sea, and USA officials said it was meant to send a warning to the USA.

to dictate - to demand / command someone to do something as if they are the authority
concessions - something that is given because it is asked for by another party; 
a yielding; a deal
bound by - restricted by; forced to obey
to manipulate - to control something in order to gain power
trade advantage - to have a benefit that other people do not have (concerning buying and selling products)
military complex - a large area filled with military buildings, facilities, and weapons
belligerent - threatening violence; very aggressive
resolutely - in a way that doesn't give in, give up, and/or relent; without quitting / stopping
to battle - to fight
news medium - internet news website / newspaper
rebuff - a rude rejection
diplomacy - dealing between countries
<![CDATA[South Korean parliament votes to impeach President Park Geun-hye]]>Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:13:29 GMThttp://thebestofenglish.com/2/post/2016/12/south-korean-parliament-votes-to-impeachpresident-park-geun-hye.html
The parliament of South Korea has voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye - photo by AP
South Korea's parliament has voted 234 to 56 to impeach their president Park Geun-hye. President Park, who is the first female president of South Korea, has been embroiled in a major corruption scandal in recent weeks. 

At the source of the scandal is Park's relationship with her close advisor and spiritual guide, Choi Soon-sil, who is the leader of what many regard as a religious cult. 

Choi has been accused of using her relationship with Park to have powerful Korean corporations donate money to two of her foundations, and then stealing money from those foundations. Park has been accused of allowing Choi access to government decisions and of allowing Choi to manipulate her.

Park has been close to Choi since the 1970s. While Park Geun-hye's father, Park Chung-hee, was president of South Korea, Choi's father, also a cult-leader at the time, was his advisor. 

Since the scandal was made public, South Koreans have been protesting the streets of Seoul against Park, and in one night, the number of protestors reached nearly two million people. 

The South Korean parliament's decision means that Park is suspended and authority will pass to Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn. During her supension, the Constitutional Court will judge her case within 180 days. 

In 2004, South Korea impeached then-president Roh Moo-hyun, who was suspended for two months, but later reinstated by the Constitutional Court. 

impeach - to officially accuse a country's leader of wrongdoing with the aim to remove him / her from political office
embroiled - involved in
religious cult - a religious group that has authoritarian (very strict) control over its members
to manipulate - to control and influence a person to follow the decision's of another person
foundation - an organization that people donate money to in order to help society
suspended - temporarily ordered to stop working at their position
reinstate - to bring back to his / her original position
<![CDATA[Afghani refugee arrested in rape and murder of daughter of Eu official]]>Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:17:39 GMThttp://thebestofenglish.com/2/post/2016/12/afghani-refugee-arrested-in-rape-and-murder-of-daughter-of-eu-offical.html
German teen Maria Ladenburger was raped and then drowned in October. An Afghan refugee has been arrested - photo FACEBOOK
The body of 19-year old German teen Maria Ladenburger was found in the River Dreisam in October. On Friday, an Afghani refugee was arrested for her rape and murder by drowning.

Ladenburger was a medical student who had volunteered at a shelter for refugees and her father, Dr. Clemens Ladenburger, is a lawyer working for the European Commission.

A strand of dark hair that was dyed blonde was found at the crime scene and led police to a 17-year-old Afghani, only known as Hussein K, who arrived in Germany as an unaccompanied minor in 2015. 

David Müller, head of the police’s Special Commission said that, "The 19-year-old student had been at a party. By 2.37am, she left the party. Maria L. then cycled home, as usual."

The alleged rapist and killer is believed to have arrived in Germany in 2015 along with one million other asylum seekers. Police are still investigating whether the attack was planned, and if the suspect knew Ladenburger. 

A spokesperson for Alternative for Germany, a political party, has said that this tragedy exemplifies the 'dangers' of unregulated immigration, and that Ladenburger was a victim of Chancellor Angela Merkel's 'welcome culture'.

dyed - artificially colored
unaccompanied - with no one else; being alone

minor - under 18 years of age
alleged - believed to have done something (but not yet proven)

refugee - a person entering a safe country after escaping a dangerous place (country)
asylum seeker - refugee
spokesperson - a person who speaks for a group
exemplifies - is an example of _
'welcome culture' - the act of easily inviting strangers into your country

<![CDATA[Italian PM Mattaeo Renzi resigns after referendum lose]]>Mon, 05 Dec 2016 06:45:20 GMThttp://thebestofenglish.com/2/post/2016/12/italian-pm-mattaeo-renzi-resigns-after-referendum-lose.html
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has resigned his office following a referendum - photo EFA
After experiencing a major defeat in a nationwide referendum on his plan to reform the constitution, Mattaeo Renzi has resigned as prime minister of Italy. Renzi said that it is now time for the 'no' side to take responsibility for the future direction of the country. 

After most votes were counted, 60% voted no to Renzi's proposals and 40% voted yes. Voter turnout was 70%.

Even though Renzi claims his reforms would have reduced Italy's bureaucracy and made the country more competitive, many see the referendum as a way of Italians expressing their dissatisfaction with Renzi. 

Much support of the 'no' side came from populist groups, such as the Five Star Movement, who hold anti-establishment sentiments.

The leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League, Mattaeo Salvin, said that the referendum was a "victory of the people against the strong powers of three-quarters of the world".

This Italian referendum follows the UK's Brexit, the rise of the anti-immigration group Front National in France, and the election of Donald Trump in the USA.  

"The Italians have disavowed the EU and Renzi. We must listen to this thirst for freedom of nations," Marine Le Pen of France's Front National said on Twitter.

Once the results of the referendum were finalized, the Euro currency immediately fell against the USA dollar. 

nationwide - throughout the whole nation; all of the people; the entire country
referendum - a vote by the people of a country to decide upon a specific issue
turnout - the amount of people participating
bureaucracy - the system of government where non-elected officials make decisions - ths is often onsidered as taxing and time-consuming
populist - an approach to government representing the interests of the common people
anti-establishment - going against the current and typical authority figures in the present government
sentiments - feelings (and thoughts) toward something
<![CDATA[Trump takes call from Taiwan president and resumes official relations]]>Sat, 03 Dec 2016 00:47:50 GMThttp://thebestofenglish.com/2/post/2016/12/trump-calls-taiwan-president-and-resumes-official-relations.html
USA President-Elect Donald Trump has resumed official relations with Taiwan and its president Tsai Ing-wen - photo by EPA (left) / AP (right)
USA President-Elect Donald Trump has spoken directly to Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, which is a break from USA's 1979 policy of severing officials relations with Taiwan, after he was telephoned by Taiwan.

It is believed that this phone call will greatly anger China, as it considers Taiwan to be a renegade state. 

China has hundreds and hundreds of missiles pointed directly at Taiwan, and insists that Taiwan is apart of China under their strict "One-China Policy". This "One-China Policy" has declared that there is only one China and Taiwan is only one part of China.

The USA broke official ties with Taiwan in 1979 in support of the "Once-China Policy". However, the USA has maintained friendly, yet unofficial ties with Taiwan since then.

During the call, President-Elect Trump also congratulated Ing-wen, Taiwain's first female president, on her landslide victory in the Taiwanese presidential elections in January 2016.

Trump's transition team also said that the President-Elect reaffirmed the USA's and Taiwan's "close economic, political, and security ties".

to sever - to cut
renegade - someone / group that leaves the main group; a runaway

landslide - a win by a very large amount (margin)
transition team - a group of people who work for the next president to prepare for his office
transition - a change
reaffirm - to state again as being true
<![CDATA[EU releases plan to increase defense spending]]>Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:47:24 GMThttp://thebestofenglish.com/2/post/2016/11/eu-releases-plan-to-increase-defense-spending.html
The EU plans to increase their military defenses - photo by Martin Schutt / AFP
Leaders of the European Union have released details of a proposed plan that would increase funding for EU military defenses and technological research. 

The EU has seen a 12% decrease in military defense spending over the last decade.

The plan also comes as a reaction to USA President-Elect Donald Trump's vow to reduce USA's commitments to NATO if some member states are not paying their fair share.

Brexit is also a factor in the EU's plan, as the UK has consistently rejected France's and Germany's call for improved security.

The EU plans to increase research spending from €25m set for 2017 to €90m by 2020. It would also use €5 billion per year of member states' money to buy drones and helicopters.

"To guarantee our collective security, we must invest in the common development of technologies and equipment of strategic importance - from land, air, sea and space capabilities to cyber security," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said. "If Europe does not take care of its own security, nobody else will do it for us."

The European Council will discuss the plan later this month.

proposed - suggested
funding - supplying with money
fair share - equal contribution
strategic - here, critical 
<![CDATA[Turkey's Erdogan threatens EU with surge of migrants]]>Fri, 25 Nov 2016 22:24:44 GMThttp://thebestofenglish.com/2/post/2016/11/turkeys-erdogan-threatens-eu-with-surge-of-migrants.html
Last year, over one million migrants, mostly from Syria, have entered Europe via Turkey - photo GETTY
Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told the European Union that he will allow hundreds of thousands of migrants into Europe as a reaction to their halting of talks concerning Turkey's membership into the EU.

As a part of a March 2016 agreement, migrants arriving to Greece are sent to Turkey if they have not already applied for refugee status in the EU or if their applications have been rejected. For each Syrian returned to Turkey, the EU agrees to accept one Syrian with a valid refugee request. In return, the EU promised Turkey aid, visa-free travel for Turkish nationals, and to speed up Turkey's EU membership discussions. However, Members of European Parliament (MEPs) recently voted to freeze Turkey's EU-membership talks because of Turkey's failed military coup in July. The EU has also delayed visa-free travel for Turkish nationals because Turkey has not changed its anti-terror laws. 

"Listen to me: these border gates will be opened if you go any further," Erdogan warned the EU on Friday.

At the moment, Turkey has accepted over three million migrants who are mostly from Syria. Last year, over one million people sought refuge in Europe by way of Turkey. 

In light of these recent events, the relationship between the EU and Turkey is weakening and the deal to control migration into Europe appears to be degrading. 

to threaten - to say that something bad will happen if something is not done
surge - a sudden increase
halting - stopping (gerund - noun)

migrant - someone moving from one (country) place to another
refugee - someone who asks to enter another country because their home country is treating them badly

refugee request - an application for refugee status
aid - (financial - money) help

sought - past tense of "seek" - to look for __
to freeze - to stop

in light of - concerning; due to; because of 
to degrade - to slowly fall apart; to slowly disassemble
<![CDATA[Two killed and 70 monks taken hostage in retirement home in France]]>Thu, 24 Nov 2016 23:29:50 GMThttp://thebestofenglish.com/2/post/2016/11/two-killed-and-70-monks-taken-hostage-in-retirement-home-in-france.html
A masked, armed man has entered a retirement home for priests and monks and has kille dtwo people and taken 70 hostage - photo Sky News
A masked man armed with a shotgun and a knife has stormed into a retirement home for monk's in Montpellier-sur-Lez in southern France on Thursday, killing two people and taking 70 monks hostage.

The man, who entered the building at 9:45 pm local time, is reported to still be in the building which is surrounded by police. 

Reports say that one woman and one man are dead, and that the woman, who was a supervisor at the home, had managed to phone police before she was killed by the attacker's knife.

More than 60 monks who worked in missions in Africa live at this retirement residence for monks and priests. 

The motive for the attack is still unknown. 

to storm - to suddenly enter
masked - covering the face
armed - carrying a weapon (gun)

retirement - the time in life when a person stops working because they are old
to take hostage - to force someone to stay with you and not let them leave
mission - a religious trip to another place meant to help people and teach them about that religion

motive - reason for doing something

<![CDATA[Suicide bomber kills 27 in Shia mosque in Kabul]]>Mon, 21 Nov 2016 19:55:55 GMThttp://thebestofenglish.com/2/post/2016/11/suicide-bomber-kills-27-in-shia-mosque-in-kabul.html
A suicide bomb has killed 27 people in a Shia mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan - photo EPA
At least 27 people have been killed and many more have been wounded by a suicide bomb detonated in a Shia mosque in the Afghanistan capital of Kabul on Monday. The explosion occurred at around 12:30 pm local time.

The attack has been claimed by Islamic State (IS) who are Sunni Muslim. Shia Muslims in Afghanistan have been targeted and attacked at least three times by IS in recent past.

It is estimated that 20% of the Afghan population are Shia Muslim with the rest being Sunni. 

President Ashraf Ghani said the attack was an attempt "to sow seeds of discord" and Afghan government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah urged the country not to fall victim to "enemy plots that divide us by titles".

The Taliban, a Sunni Islamist fundamentalist group fighting in Afghanistan, has also condemned the attack.

to detonate - to activate; to set off
to claim - to declare responsibility 

an attempt - a try
sow - to grow
discord - great disagreement and uneasiness among groups

a plot - a plan
to condemn - to publicly express disapproval