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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K074: About Vietnam - Vietnamese man with five metre hair says lifelong grow-out is divine calling
While coronavirus lockdowns caused many men across the world to grow their hair longer than usual, none compare with Vietnam’s Nguyen Van Chien who has gone almost 80 years without a trim.
The 92-year-old from the southern Mekong Delta region is the proud owner of five-metre long dreadlocks, owing to his belief in a faith that prescribes leaving untouched what a person is born with.
"I believe if I cut my hair I will die. I dare not to change anything, not even combing it," Nguyen told Reuters in his village about 80km west of Ho Chi Minh City.
"I only nurture it, cover it in a scarf to keep it dry and clean and looking nice."
Nguyen, who worships nine powers and seven gods, believes it was his calling to grow his hair, which he bundles up under an orange turban.
He was required to trim it when at school, but left after third grade and decided never to cut, comb or wash it again.
Vietnamese woman having abortions twice in two years 沒人談性：2年內墮胎2次的越南女子
20-year-old Huong has had two abortions in two years. No one had ever talked to her about sex： not her parents, not her teachers － and her friends knew as little as she did. She is not alone.
A lack of sex education at home or in school in Vietnam, has resulted in some relying on abortion as a form of contraception, experts say.
Parents edge away from the topic of safe sex and society "has no idea what sex education is and how to do it," said 23-year-old Linh Hoang.
Together with three friends all in their early 20s, Linh runs sex education start-up WeGrow Edu in Hanoi, where they stash gift boxes filled with sanitary pads, pregnancy tests and condoms － as well as vital guides on how and when teens might use them.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1396243 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1412187
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K073: Attacks on Taiwan’s invasive iguanas draw international attention
The green iguanas have been introduced to Taiwan as a pet ten years ago, but was later abandoned due to their large size. The number of iguanas has since proliferated in the south, affecting the growth of crops. Since last year, the local government has been encouraging people to catch green iguanas by promoting the removal program of non-native species.
However, the government has no rules and regulations for the removal program. Some people reportedly set off firecrackers in iguanas and shot them with bows and arrows, drawing concern from foreign media.
The Guardian reported on Friday that the images of killing iguanas had caused protests from animal protection groups that call on the government to implement regulations on the removal of invasive animals as soon as possible.
The Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (East) said on Wednesday that local and provincial government campaigns encourage people to remove invasive animals, but lack guidelines suggesting humane methods for people to refer to.
In this regard, the Forestry Bureau said on Wednesday that it has discussed the regulations of capturing invasive species with experts. However, the relevant rules have not yet been made public, the Forestry Bureau said. The representative stressed that the government would consider publishing the rules.
The Forestry Bureau added that for the iguana, the government will ask Chen Tien-hsi, an associate professor at the Institute of Wildlife Conservation of National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, to step up publicity and education training in cooperation with the local governments.
Source article: https://chinapost.nownews.com/20210305-2175942
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K072: Europe’s Bankruptcies Are Plummeting. That May Be a Problem.
France and other European countries are spending enormous sums to keep businesses afloat during the worst recession since World War II. But some worry they’ve gone too far; bankruptcies are plunging to levels not seen in decades.
While the aid has prevented a surge in unemployment, the largesse risks turning swathes of the economy into a kind of twilight zone where firms are swamped with debt they cannot pay off but receiving just enough state aid to stay alive — so-called zombie companies. Unable to invest or innovate, these firms could contribute to what the World Bank recently described as a potential “lost decade” of stagnant economic growth caused by the pandemic.
“We need to get off of all of these subsidies at some point — otherwise, we’ll have a zombie economy,” said Carl Bildt, co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations and a former prime minister of Sweden.
Bankruptcies fell 40% last year in France and Britain, and were down 25% on average in the European Union. Without government intervention, including billions in state-backed loans and subsidized payrolls, European business failures would have almost doubled last year, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private American organization.
By contrast, Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in the United States rose in the third quarter to the highest level since the 2010 financial crisis, a trend that is expected to continue in 2021, according to an index compiled by the U.S. law firm Polsinelli.
Those statistics are shaping a debate over whether Europe’s strategy of protecting businesses and workers “at all costs” will cement a recovery, or leave economies less competitive and more dependent on government aid when the pandemic recedes.
Analysts say the government programs are already seeding the economy with thousands of inefficient businesses with low productivity, high debt and a high prospect of default once low interest rates normalize.
An estimated 10% of companies in France were saved from bankruptcy because of government funds, according to Rexecode, a French economic think tank.
Letting unviable businesses go under, while painful, will be essential for allowing competitive sectors to thrive, said Jeffrey Franks, the head of the International Monetary Fund’s mission for France.
A wave of bankruptcies “is not something that’s necessarily so bad,” he said. “It’s part of the normal creative destruction process of regenerating economies.”
Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5264805
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K071: About Germany - German pilot makes point with syringe in the sky
German pilot Samy Kramer has traced a giant syringe in the sky, flying 200 kilometers to remind people about the start of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Europe.
The 20-year-old pilot mapped out the route he would need to take on a GPS device before taking to the skies near Lake Constance in southern Germany. The syringe-shaped route showed up on internet site flightradar24.
"There are still relatively many people opposing the vaccination and my action may be a reminder for them to think about the topic, to get things moving", Kramer told Reuters TV on Sunday.
"Perhaps it was also a bit of a sign of joy, because the aviation industry has been hit pretty hard by the pandemic", Kramer said.
One university is offering students from around the world the opportunity to win a $1,900 scholarship for doing nothing at all.
The unique scholarship program — called "Scholarships for Doing Nothing" — is offered by the HFBK University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, Germany.
Friedrich von Borries, a design professor at HFBK, created the scholarship to challenge social perceptions of achievement and success.
"The world we are living in is driven by the belief in success, in growth, in money. This thinking was leading us into the ecological crisis — and social injustice — we are living in," Borries told CNN.
Borries said that his idea was partly inspired by the lack of activity during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Source article: https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/world/paper/1422914 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1399829
Hi there!歡迎收聽Look Back Sunday回顧星期天，在這個節目John老師會彙整過去不同國家與主題的熱門跟讀文章，讓你可以在十五分鐘內吸收最精華的世界時事趣聞！我們這週聽聽科學相關的文章，Let's get started!
Topic: Eating a big breakfast could double the amount of calories you burn in the day, according to a new study
Eating a big breakfast could help you burn double the amount of calories than if you eat a larger meal at dinner.
It could be the key to losing weight while also keeping blood sugar levels steady, researchers at Lübeck University in Germany said.
Their study found filling up in the morning boosts a metabolism process known as diet-induced thermogenesis （DIT）.
DIT refers to the number of calories the body expends to heat the body and digest food. It was shown to be twice as high for those who ate more at breakfast than at dinner.
The study also showed increases in blood sugar and insulin concentrations, caused by eating a meal, was diminished after breakfast, but not so much after dinner.
The results also showed eating a low-calorie breakfast caused sweet cravings with a higher appetite.
This suggests those saving all their calories for the end of the day may face consequences because they snack more.
Topic: Air pollution ’pandemic’ shortens lives by 3 years: study 研究：空污「大爆發」 人類減壽3年
A ’pandemic’ of air pollution shortens lives worldwide by nearly three years on average, and causes 8.8 million premature deaths annually, scientists said Tuesday.
Eliminating the toxic cocktail of molecules and lung-clogging particles cast off by burning oil, gas and coal would restore a full year of life expectancy, they reported in the journal Cardiovascular Research.
Compared to other causes of premature death, air pollution kills 19 times more people each year than malaria, nine times more than HIV/AIDS, and three times more than alcohol, the study found.
Coronary heart disease and stroke account for almost half of those deaths, with lung diseases and other non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure accounting for most of the rest. Only six percent of mortality stemming from polluted air is due to lung cancer.
The worst-hit region is Asia, where average lifespan is cut 4.1 years in China, 3.9 years in India, and 3.8 years in Pakistan.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1360772 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1358960
Topic: Chemical found in spinach has the same effect as steroids and should be banned for athletes, scientists say
Maybe Popeye was onto something when he ripped open a can of spinach for beating up the bad guys.
Scientists in Germany say, ecdysterone, a chemical found in spinach is close to steroids and has a similar effect on humans. Researchers at Freie Universität Berlin ran a 10-week test on nearly 50 athletes and found athletes who took capsules of ecdysterone increased their strength by up to three times.
The capsules the athletes were given were the equivalent of about nine pounds of spinach but researchers say the capsules could be used as a performance enhancing drug. The study has called on the World Anti-Doping Authority to dig further into ecdysterone and wants the chemical added to the list of banned substances for athletes.
Topic: Genes, yes, but obesity pandemic mostly down to diet：study 研究：基因有影響，但肥胖流行病主因在飲食
A three-fold jump since 1975 in the percentage of adults worldwide who are obese has been driven mainly by a shift in diet and lack of exercise, but genes do play a role as well, according a large-scale study published Thursday.
For people genetically predisposed to a wider girth, these unhealthy lifestyles compounded the problem, resulting in an even higher rate of weight gain, researchers reported in The BMJ, a peer-reviewed medical journal.
To tease out the relative impact of environment and genes on obesity, scientists led by Maria Brandkvist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology combed through data on nearly 120,000 people in Norway whose height and weight were regularly measured between 1963 and 2008.
Adults began tipping the scales at significantly higher weights in the 1980s and 1990s, they found. Those born after 1970 were far more likely to have a substantially higher BMI as young adults than earlier generations.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1312177 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1313703
Topic: Science proves that alcohol increases your ability to speak a second language 科學證實，酒精增進你的第二外語口說能力
A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology has found that a bit of Dutch courage might be the key to boosting your ability to speak a second language.
Researchers tested 50 native German speakers who had just learned Dutch. Some were given a low dose of alcohol, and others a control beverage with no alcohol, and then were asked to have a conversation in Dutch.
The study showed that those who were slightly intoxicated had better pronunciation than their sober counterparts. Alcohol may impair your memory, making it harder to pay attention and recall facts, but on the other hand, it also boosts your self-confidence.
However, participants in this study consumed a low dose of alcohol, and that higher levels of alcohol consumption might not have beneficial effects on the pronunciation of a foreign language. The participants knew what they were drinking, so it’s not clear if their speech improved because of alcohol’s psychological or biological effects.
Source article: http://iservice.ltn.com.tw/Service/english/english.php?engno=1149846&day=2017-11-07
It’s a two-part article about Japan. First article discusses the low fertility rate in Japan is making the Japanese government allocating JPY2bn to boost birth rate. Human-run matchmaking services will now use AI to improve their clients’ chances of finding the right life partners that ultimately boost birth rate. Next article is about a shift in Japan government’s stance in its carbon policies. Japan is set to reduce 80% carbon footprint by 2050 and zero-emissions in the latter half of the century. It is the fifth-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world.
Vocabulary and Sample Sentences:
Subsidize v. to support financially
Matchmaking n. the arranging of marriages or initiation of romantic relationships
Emission n. – production and discharge of gas or radiation
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K070: Daily bananas intake good, but not for kidney failure patients
Bananas are one of the most commonly seen and eaten fruits. Eating bananas brings many benefits, such as replenishing energy and lowering blood pressure, and can even improve your mood. There is a rumor going around online that you should not eat bananas every day because they are a high-potassium food that can damage your kidneys if you eat too many, but the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) says only people with impaired kidney function have a metabolic deficiency that compels them to avoid eating bananas every day.
Bananas are classified as a medium-potassium food, containing about 325 milligrams of potassium per 100 grams of banana flesh, or about 200 to 399 milligrams of potassium per serving (half a large banana or a whole small one). Research shows that bananas can regulate bowel movements, relieve depression, reduce oxidation, lower blood pressure, promote cardiovascular health and prevent stroke, among other things.
According to the HPA, for people with normal kidney function, consuming plenty of potassium ions from bananas or other food can regulate blood pressure and indirectly protect the kidneys. Only for people with impaired kidney function — those who have been diagnosed with kidney failure — can it be harmful to their health, as they cannot excrete potassium ions.
The best ways to prevent chronic kidney disease are lifestyle improvements, good control of blood pressure, blood sugar and blood fat, lowering urine protein and avoiding drugs that are toxic to the kidneys, as well as early screening and referral to a nephrologist when necessary.
As for how to tell whether your kidneys are functioning normally, you can visit a hospital and find a doctor to perform a kidney function test, or else you can take advantage of the free adult health examinations that the HPA offers once every three years for people aged between 40 and 64 years old and once a year for those aged 65 or older. You can safeguard your kidney health by watching out for any change in your kidney function and following your doctors’ orders for treatment.
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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K069: Australia battles Big Tech over news revenue-sharing law
Facebook Inc has blocked Australian users from sharing and viewing news content on its popular social media platform, escalating a dispute with the government over paying media publishers for content.
While Big Tech and media outlets have battled over the right to news content in other jurisdictions, Australia’s looming law represents the most expansive reform and is being closely watched around the world.
The so-called Media Bargaining Code has been designed by the government and competition regulator to address a power imbalance between the social media giants and publishers when negotiating payment for news content used on the tech firms’ sites. The proposed legislation has reached a crunch point, with widespread support in parliament, where it is expected to be voted into law within days.
In recent years, traditional media companies operating in Australia have suffered huge hits to income streams, due to dwindling subscriptions and advertising. For every A$100 spent on online advertising in Australia, excluding classifieds, nearly one-third goes to Google and Facebook, the competition regulator has said.
Facebook said that the law “fundamentally misunderstands” the relationship between itself and publishers and it faced a stark choice of attempting to comply with it or ban news content. It said its platform generates billions of free referrals to Australian publishers worth significant sums to the media companies.
Alphabet Inc-owned Google, however, has backed down from a threat to withdraw its main search engine from Australia if the laws go ahead, and has instead struck deals with some of the country’s major commercial publishers. They include a global deal with News Corp for an unnamed sum in one of the most extensive deals of its kind with Big Tech.
Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2021/02/22/2003752624
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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K068: About Indonesia - World’s oldest known cave painting found in Indonesia
Archaeologists have discovered the world’s oldest known cave painting：a life-sized picture of a wild pig that was made at least 45,500 years ago in Indonesia.
The finding described in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday provides the earliest evidence of human settlement of the region.
Co-author Maxime Aubert of Australia’s Griffith University told AFP it was found on the island of Sulawesi in 2017 by doctoral student Basran Burhan, as part of surveys the team was carrying out with Indonesian authorities.
The Leang Tedongnge cave is located in a remote valley enclosed by sheer limestone cliffs, about an hour’s walk from the nearest road.
Measuring 136 by 54 centimeters the Sulawesi warty pig was painted using dark red ochre pigment and has a short crest of upright hair, as well as a pair of horn-like facial warts characteristic of adult males of the species.
Students In Bali Can Pay Tuition Fees With Coconuts Amid Pandemic 疫病大流行期間 峇里島學生可用椰子繳學費
A hospitality college in Bali, Indonesia, has begun accepting coconuts as tuition payment as students face economic hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
When students at the Venus One Tourism Academy pay their fees with coconuts, the college will use them to harvest virgin coconut oil, UPI reported.
Alternatively, students can pay with leaves from other selected tropical plants which can be converted into herbal soap and be sold to raise money for the academy.
"Initially, the tuition payment scheme was paid in three installments, with the first installment at 50 per cent, the second 20 at per cent and the third at 30 per cent," Venus One Tourism Academy’s director Wayan Pasek Adi Putra told local news.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1414475 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1422914
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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K067: Salaried or Hourly? The Gaps in Family-Friendly Policies Begin to Close
As the labor market tightens, employers have been competing for highly educated workers by trying to make it easier for them to do their jobs and also have families — benefits like egg freezing or reduced schedules for new parents.
Now, some employers are beginning to address the same challenge for lower-wage workers, starting with paid family leave.
Starbucks last month announced raises and stock grants for all employees in the United States, along with new benefits aimed specifically at workers with family caregiving responsibilities: paid time off to care for sick family members and paid paternity leave for hourly employees.
It followed the announcement by Walmart last month that it was raising pay and adding family-friendly benefits. It gave full-time hourly workers the same paid parental leave as salaried ones and said it would help pay for adoptions, including for hourly workers.
It’s a sign that the effects of low unemployment have reached companies that rely on low-wage workers. Both companies also credited tax cuts.
“It brings the talent we’re looking for, and industry-leading retention,” said Reggie Borges, a Starbucks spokesman. The company had been planning to add benefits for a while, he said, but the corporate tax cuts “were an accelerator.”
By focusing on family-friendly benefits, companies are also catching up to the fact that family life has changed faster than workplace or public policies. In families of all income levels, it’s more common for both parents to work or women to be the breadwinners, and the lack of family-friendly benefits has led to declining labor force participation as people struggle to combine work and parenthood.
Benefits like paid parental leave are a crucial factor for people, especially women, in continuing to work. Yet hourly workers, who generally have the most need for paid parental leave, have also been the least likely to get it. Only recently have more companies begun to change that.
The United States is the only industrialized country not to mandate paid parental leave. Employers choose whether and how much to offer, and this varies greatly. Of the 20 largest employers, all but one, Lowe’s, offer some form of paid parental leave. Eight of them give hourly employees less than salaried employees — in time, pay or both — including Starbucks and General Electric, according to a Times analysis.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/323365/web/
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K066: About Europe - Hungarian family sails around the globe in a 50-feet boat called ’Teatime’
While the world was grappling with the pandemic, a Hungarian family of four decided last summer to fulfill their dream：sailing around the globe in a 50-feet boat called "Teatime."
Domonkos Bosze and his wife Anna, who have been sailing for more than a decade, had planned the adventure long before the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the pandemic presented them with the dilemma of whether this was the right time to go, in the end their determination overruled all worries and risks.
They follow the changes in coronavirus rules in each country and take a test or go into quarantine as required.
Depending on COVID restrictions, they plan to sail on this year or next year towards the Pacific, and now they say their trip could last another 5-6 years, stopping for extended periods in the southern Pacific and on the Indian ocean.
They sniff at six vessels, each containing a piece of cloth with scent from patients with Covid-19, negative donors, or fake samples.
The team of dog trainers are working in their own time and report a 95-percent success rate in COVID-19 detection in samples of human scent.
"The study is designed to verify dogs’ ability to detect Covid-19 and generate a method enabling the use of trained dogs in combatting the pandemic," project head Gustav Hotovy told AFP.
The samples used are obtained merely by rubbing a piece of cotton against the patient’s skin. The team then has to ensure the sample is virus-free to prevent the dogs from catching the disease.
Using the same sampling method, a Finnish team has been using dogs for testing at Helsinki airport, reporting its dogs can detect the virus with close to 100 percent accuracy.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1432907 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1432684
Hi there!歡迎收聽Look Back Sunday回顧星期天，在這個節目John老師會彙整過去不同國家與主題的熱門跟讀文章，讓你可以在十五分鐘內吸收最精華的世界時事趣聞！我們這週聽聽南美洲的趣聞，Let's get started!
Topic: As Economy Lags, Hugo Chavez's Movement Fades in Venezuela
As president, Hugo Chavez lavished millions from this country’s oil boom on his home state of Barinas.
But boom has turned to bust, the economy is in shambles and the love affair is over.
Similar sentiments are being heard around the continent, where political dynasties are falling or under intense pressure and where protests and social unrest are on the rise.
In Brazil, legislators have begun an impeachment proceeding against President Dilma Rousseff, as scores of other political leaders have become embroiled in a huge corruption scandal.
In Ecuador, protesters angry at President Rafael Correa have taken to the streets to demonstrate against budget cutbacks necessitated by vanishing oil revenues.
And in Argentina, President Mauricio Macri was inaugurated last month after surging to a surprising win against the candidate of the Peronist party of his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez. His victory ended 12 years during which Fernandez or her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, occupied the presidential palace.
The strains are being felt most keenly by leftist governments, but analysts say that something other than ideology is at work here. South America saw robust growth in the century’s first decade, thanks to a historic boom in the value of raw materials and other commodities that are sold to the rest of the world.
High prices for oil, natural gas, coal, copper, gold, silver, bauxite, soy beans and other products led to steady growth, a sharp drop in poverty and an expansion of the middle class throughout the region. That growth, in turn, brought political stability, with leaders and parties being repeatedly re-elected.
“There’s been a pretty striking continuity in many countries, in large part thanks to the commodities boom that leaders and parties have been riding,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialog, a policy analysis group in Washington. “When that’s over, voters look elsewhere and for new leaders, but governing is extremely difficult because they no longer have the resources to meet the high expectations that have been generated during the commodities boom.”
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/291818/web/
Topic: About Crime - Come to Rio, get robbed: Brazil tourism body shares awkward Instagram post
Brazil’s national tourism agency typically focuses on the city’s world-class beaches, samba-filled music scene and caipirinha-fueled parties. Violent crime is rarely listed among the attractions.
But in an embarrassing social media snafu this week, the Brazilian Tourist Board (Embratur) accidentally shared a critical Instagram post from a tourist who did not enjoy her stay in the so-called "Cidade Maravilhosa," or Marvelous City.
"I just spent 3 days in Rio with my family, and in those 3 days my family and I were robbed and my 9-year-old sister witnessed a violent robbery," Instagram user "withlai" wrote in an Instagram Stories post. "I can’t recommend a visit to a city where I felt afraid of even leaving the apartment."
Embratur deleted the shared post on Wednesday. It said in a subsequent statement that "sharing (the post) was a mistake," adding that it had worked hard to promote a nationwide fall in crime in 2019.
Safety concerns along with inconvenient flights, poor infrastructure and high costs have long held back Brazil’s tourism industry, which lags its South American neighbors.
除了航班不便、基礎設施貧乏及費用高昂，安全考量令巴西觀光產業長久以來遲滯不前，落後於南美鄰國。Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1358564
Topic: Ecuadorean discovery pushes back origins of chocolate
People have been enjoying chocolate far longer than previously known, according to research published on Monday detailing the domestication and use of cacao beginning 5,300 years ago at an ancient settlement in the highlands of southeastern Ecuador. Scientists examined ceramic artifacts at the Santa Ana-La Florida archeological site, a remarkably preserved village and ceremonial center that was part of the Mayo-Chinchipe culture of the Andes, and found abundant evidence of the use of cacao, from which chocolate is made.
The study indicates cacao was domesticated roughly 1,500 years earlier than previously known, and that it occurred in South America rather than in Central America, as previously thought. A tropical evergreen tree called Theobroma cacao bears large, oval pods containing the bean-like cacao seeds that today are roasted and turned into cocoa and multitudes of chocolate confections, although chocolate at the time was consumed as a beverage.
The scientists found evidence of cacao’s use at the site over a period starting 5,300 years ago — more than 700 years before building of the Great Pyramid of Giza in ancient Egypt — until 2,100 years ago. They found cacao starch grains in ceramic vessels and pottery shards. They also detected residue of a bitter compound found in the cacao tree but not its wild relatives, evidence that the tree was grown by people for food purposes, as well as DNA fragments from the cacao tree.
“They clearly drank it as a beverage, as shown by its presence in stirrup-spout pots and bowls,” said University of British Columbia anthropologist and archaeologist Michael Blake, who helped lead the study published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. “The presence of cacao starch grains likely means that they ground the seeds to make the beverages, and so probably, though we aren’t certain, fermented the seeds as well, before grinding them,” Blake added.
Archeological evidence indicates cacao domestication moved into Central America and Mexico about 4,000 years ago. Before European conquerors arrived in the Americas five centuries ago, great civilizations like the Aztecs and Maya prepared chocolate as a drink, mixed with various spices or other ingredients. “The freshly picked ripe cacao pods have a delicious sweet pulp around them, and mixed together it all has a very mild chocolate taste,” Blake said. “The chocolate confections today contain a great deal of sugar, and this is very different from the indigenous uses of cacao reported in the historical records from the 1500s and 1600s.”
Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2018/11/04/2003703549
For many years, social media companies like Facebook, Google and other online competitors are challenging the influence of traditional magazine publishers in the world. After executive senior editors of top international magazines like Vanity Fair, Time, Elle, Glamour, and Rolling Stone have stepped down, it seems like the prediction of the fall of traditional media is becoming a reality. As people are reading less, publishers are taking an “anything goes” approach” in search for new revenue streams. Now Time is featuring viral videos of animals and Hearst is now partnering with Airbnb on a new magazine.
Vocabulary and Sample Sentences:
Chauffeur n. v. person hired to drive a private rented vehicle
Stake/s n. a share or interest in business
Monopoly n. a company or group having exclusive control over the market
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K065: Coronavirus Is Battering Africa’s Growing Middle Class
As the coronavirus surges in many countries in Africa, it is threatening to push as many as 58 million people in the region into extreme poverty, experts at the World Bank say. But beyond the devastating consequences for the continent’s most vulnerable people, the pandemic is also whittling away at one of Africa’s signature achievements: the growth of its middle class.
For the last decade, Africa’s middle class has been pivotal to the educational, political and economic development across the continent. New business owners and entrepreneurs have created jobs that, in turn, gave others a leg up as well.
Educated, tech-savvy families and young people with money to spare have fed the demand for consumer goods, called for democratic reforms, expanded the talent pool at all levels of society, and pushed for high-quality schools and health care.
About 170 million out of Africa’s 1.3 billion people are now classified as middle class. But about 8 million of them could be thrust into poverty because of the coronavirus and its economic fallout, according to World Data Lab, a research organization.
It’s a setback that may be felt for years to come.
“The tragedy is that because Africa is not growing fast, this collapse of the middle class could take several years to recover,” said Homi Kharas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the co-founder of the World Data Lab.
Africa’s middle class tripled over the past 30 years, by some estimates, spurred by job opportunities in sectors like technology, tourism and manufacturing.
But now that the region is facing its first recession in 25 years, millions of educated people living in urban centers could fall victim to the extreme income inequality that has defined Africa for decades.
Kharas defined the middle class in Africa as households that spend anywhere between $11 and $110 per capita per day.
The rising middle class has been “critical for the future prospects of African economies as they stimulate long-term growth, social progress, an inclusive and prosperous society and effective and accountable governance,” said Landry Signé, author of “Unlocking Africa’s Business Potential.” The coronavirus “will drastically delay wages and hold back the dreams of Africa’s middle class,” he said.
What distinguishes the middle class from the poor, said Razia Khan, chief economist for Africa and the Middle East at Standard Chartered bank, is the ability to earn a steady income. But because of the pandemic, many more people across Africa are at risk of being “knocked back into poverty” because of lack of jobs, unemployment benefits or any social safety net, she said.
The pandemic is also posing a threat to nascent industries supported by governments in Africa in recent years to boost the number of middle-income earners.
Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/4712407
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K064: Why France sparks anger in Muslim world: secularism explained
Many countries, especially in the democratic West, champion freedom of expression and allow publications that lampoon Islam’s prophet. So why is France singled out for protests and calls for boycotts across the Muslim world, and so often the target of deadly violence from the extremist margins? Its brutal colonial past, staunch secular policies and tough-talking president, who is seen as insensitive toward the Muslim faith, all play a role.
While French officials often say their country is targeted because of its reputation as the cradle of human rights and a rampart of global democracy, what distinguishes France most is its unusual attachment to secularism (or laicite).
The often-misunderstood concept of French secularism is inscribed in the country’s constitution. It was born in a 1905 law after anti-clerical struggles with the Catholic Church. Separating church and state, the law was meant to allow the peaceful coexistence of all religions under a neutral state, instead of a government answering to powerful Roman Catholic clerics. Crucifixes were at one point torn from classroom walls in France amid painful public debate.
A century later, polls suggest France is among the least religious countries in the world, with a minority attending services regularly. Secularism is broadly supported by those on both left and right. State secularism is central to France’s national identity and demands the separation of religion and public life.
Schools have historically instilled the Republic’s values in its citizens — a task some teachers say becomes ever harder as a minority of French Muslims and adherents of other faiths seek to express their religious identity.
As the number of Muslims in France grew, the state imposed secular rules on their practices. A 2004 ban on Muslim headscarves and other ostentatious religious symbols in schools remains divisive, if not shocking to many outside France. A 2011 law banning face veils made Muslims feel stigmatized anew. In recent decades, the desire among some French Muslims to express their religious identity has dominated the debate around balancing religious and secular needs.
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K063: About Japan - New mayor seeks 100-yen tax on visitors to Miyajima island
Taro Matsumoto campaigned in the mayoral race in Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture, on a pledge to institute an entrance tax for visitors to Miyajima island, home to Itsukushimajinja shrine, a World Heritage site.
Matsumoto, who took office on Nov. 3, 2019, is determined to fulfill his campaign promise.
Matsumoto told reporters a day after the election that he aims to introduce the tax in 2021 to fund infrastructure improvements to the increasingly popular tourist attraction.
"The island needs maintenance and repair work, including placing power lines underground and repairing roads," he said. "I’m focused on introducing the tax as a stable source of income."
Criticism over the sexist remarks uttered by Tokyo Olympic organizing committee chief Yoshiro Mori spread in the Cabinet and overseas after his apology fell flat and he rejected calls to resign.
Cabinet ministers were in unison on Feb. 5 in blasting Mori’s contention that having a large number of women on sports associations’ committees would lead to prolonged meetings because they tend to talk too much.
Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa, one of two women in Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Cabinet, expressed concern that Mori’s remarks would set back the government’s plans to have women take up 30 percent of leadership positions in Japan.
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K062: The Fight Over Parking in New York Is ‘Like the Hunger Games’
Last spring, as the pandemic engulfed New York City, people dealt with shortages of basic goods like toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer. But a surge in car sales — propelled in part by people leery of public transit — has created a new pandemic-induced shortage: parking spaces.
Across New York, drivers complain that free street parking has become increasingly scarce after people who drove away for the summer returned, outdoor dining took over roughly 10,000 parking spaces, and car ownership soared.
The alternative is often to take up an illegal spot — and risk getting a ticket that can amount to roughly $100 — or use a private garage, which is equally costly. Garage fees in Manhattan can run $400 a month or much more.
Advocacy groups for mass transit and bicyclists don’t offer much sympathy. They say the pandemic has underscored the need to shift priorities over who has claim to the streetscape.
In Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, the number of vehicles registered between August and October jumped 37% compared with the same period the previous year, according to data from the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The spike was starkest in Manhattan, where registrations rose by 76%, and in Brooklyn, where they increased by 45%.
The fight over parking spaces reflects what in recent years has become a contentious debate over how to allocate New York’s 6,000 miles of city streets and its millions of free parking spots in a crowded urban setting where bikers and pedestrians are demanding more space.
That competition has become even more fierce as the pandemic ushered in a re-imagining of the city’s landscape, with restaurant tables occupying pavements and streets closed off entirely to cars on weekends to allow outdoor life to flourish.
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K061: About UK - Subway bread isn’t bread, Irish court says
The ruling came in a tax dispute brought by Bookfinders Ltd., an Irish Subway franchisee, which argued that some of its takeaway products - including teas, coffees and heated sandwiches - were not liable for value-added tax.
A panel of judges rejected the appeal, ruling that the bread sold by Subway contains too much sugar to be categorized as a "staple food," which is not taxed.
"There is no dispute that the bread supplied by Subway in its heated sandwiches has a sugar content of 10% of the weight of the flour included in the dough, and thus exceeds the 2% specified," the judgement read.
British inventor wins $1m prize for revolutionary wheelchair design 英國發明家以創新的輪椅設計 贏得100萬獎金
Andrew Slorance, 51, has won a $1m prize to help him continue to develop a revolutionary ultra-light, stable carbon fibre wheelchair.
When the weight is carried by the small front wheels, this adds drag, making pushing and turning much more difficult, and introducing uncomfortable vibrations that can cause pain and muscle spasms.
Wheelchair designs have previously had to make a trade-off between agility and stability, but Mr Slorance’s new design allows the wheelchair to automatically change the weight distribution itself, keeping users balanced while also ensuring they’re as agile as possible.
Hello 通勤家族，歡迎收聽Look Back Sunday回顧星期天，在這個節目John老師會彙整過去不同國家與主題的熱門跟讀文章，讓你可以在十五分鐘內吸收最精華的世界時事趣聞！我們這週聽聽德國的趣聞，Let's get right to it!
Topic: About Germany - Big cats’ droppings help German circus weather coronavirus crisis
One creature’s droppings can be another’s treasure, as Germany’s Krone Circus is finding out during the new coronavirus pandemic.
Home to 26 lions and tigers, the circus has found an unusual side income and raised money despite coronavirus-related restrictions：selling jars of big cats’ droppings.
Customers have told lion tamer Martin Lacey they swear by the stuff.顧客告訴馴獅人馬丁．拉西，他們相信這玩意兒有用。
"I am told it keeps cats away from the garden, and since then we have learned that also it keeps the animals away from the car, where they eat all the electric cables," Lacey said.
The jars sell for 5 euros each, with some of the money going towards a charity to improve the living conditions of captive animals.
And if you don’t have a garden pest problem but find your neighbours pesky? – "Put some in the garden, and the neighbours will go away," Lacey chuckles.
Topic: Berlin brothels reopen after lockdown, but no sex allowed 柏林妓院歷經封鎖後恢復營業，但是不准性愛
Berlin’s brothels were allowed to reopen last week after months of closure due to coronavirus restrictions － but full-on sex is still off-limits.
Instead, clients looking for sexual healing in the German capital will have to make do with erotic massages until regulations are further relaxed in September.
At the brothel where longtime sex worker Jana plies her trade, beds have been made, animal-print pillows fluffed and fresh flowers placed in vases.
But Jana, 49, is looking forward to next month when she can offer the full service again.但是49歲的雅納在期待下個月恢復提供全套服務。
Sex work had been banned in Berlin since mid-March as part of efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1394745 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1395609
Topic: About Europe - Sausage vending machines booming in Germany
Hungry Germans craving a sausage in the dead of night are increasingly turning to vending machines for their bratwurst, bockwurst, and so on. The machines are booming outside German cities where shops are less likely to stay open for long hours, according to a survey by the German Press Agency.
Some butchers’ vending machines sell three or four types of sausages, and punnets of accompanying potato salad – so customers can buy all they need for a traditional hearty German feast anytime.
There are over 570,000 vending machines in Germany, but despite their popularity they are expected to complement, rather than replace traditional shops.
"Vending machines will play a complementary role in brick-and-mortar retailing," Wolfgang Kampmeier of the Berlin-Brandenburg trade association told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1354230
Topic: Slow music: Chord change in Germany of 639-year organ piece
Hundreds of fans attended a special kind of musical happening on Sept. 5 at a church in Germany: a chord change in an organ piece that is supposed to last for an entirety of 639 years. The performance of the ORGAN2/ASLSP, or As Slow As Possible, composition began in September 2001 at the St. Burchardi Church in the eastern town of Halberstadt and is supposed to end in 2640 if all goes well.
The music piece by the American composer John Cage is played on a special organ inside the medieval church. The last sound has been the same one for the last six years and 11 months, and therefore the chord change on Saturday last week was a big event among fans of the John Cage Organ Project.
A chord change means that the sound of the organ pipes changes either because new sounds are added or existing sounds end. On Sept. 5, two new organ pipes were added. Organizers say the performance is “one of the slowest realizations of an organ musical piece.”
A compressor in the basement creates energy to blow air into the organ to create a continuous sound. When a chord change happens, it’s done manually. On Sept. 5, soprano singer Johanna Vargas and organist Julian Lembke changed the chord. The new sound reminded some listeners of the metallic buzz inside a big ship’s engine room.
The next chord change is planned for Feb. 5, 2022, the German news agency DPA reported. When the piece officially started on Sept. 5, 2001, it began without any sound. It was only on Feb. 5, 2003, the day of the first chord change, that the first organ pipe chords could actually be heard inside the church.
Cage was born in Los Angeles in 1912 and died in New York in 1992. He’s known not only as a composer, but also as a music theorist, artist and philosopher.
The St. Burchardi church has a long, checkered history. It was built around 1050, and was used for more than 600 years as a Cistercian monastery. It was partially destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War, later rebuilt, at some point secularized and over the centuries also served as a barn, a distillery and a pigsty, the John Cage Organ Project said on its website.
Chord changes usually draw several thousand visitors to Halberstadt, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of guests allowed into the church was limited this year.
Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/09/13/2003743299
Apple Podcast 2020年十大熱門節目
KKBox 2020年十大Podcast風雲榜 (唯一語言學習Podcast)
According to a new paper by the economists, the industry most affected by automation is manufacturing. For every robot per thousand workers, up to six workers lost their jobs and wages fell by as much as three-fourths of a percent. Economists say blue-collar men without college degrees will be the biggest hit.
Vocabulary and Sample Sentences:
Come out ahead – end up with profit, benefit or advantage
Automation n. (automate v.) the use of automatic equipment in manufacturing or production process
On/ off sb’s radar – whether sb was aware or not aware of the issue