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VOA SPECIAL ENGLISNH LEARNING

VOA 1. North Korea likely to pursue talks


South Korea said on Tuesday that North Korea would look to negotiate with the United
States in the coming year.
The prediction came as North Korea called the latest U.S.-led sanctions an “act of war.”
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or ICBM, test on November 29. North Korea said the test showed its missile could reach
all of the U.S. mainland.
“North Korea will seek negotiation with the United States, while continuing to pursue its
effort to be recognized as a defacto nuclear-possessing country,” South Korea’s
Unification Ministry said in a report.________________________________________
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U.S. diplomats have said they are seeking a diplomatic answer to increased military
tensions on the Korean Peninsula. However, U.S. President Donald Trump has called
diplomatic efforts useless. ________________________________________________
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Trucks move across the bridge linking North Korea with the Chinese border city of
Dandong in this March 3, 2016 file photo.
China, the North’s major ally, and Russia both supported the latest U.N. sanctions. _____
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On Tuesday, China released information showing that China exported no oil products to
North Korea and imported no iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea in November.
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The Joongang Ilbo Daily newspaper reported on Tuesday that North Korea could also be
preparing to launch a satellite into space. The report came from an unnamed South
Korean government official.
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The North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper said on Monday that “peaceful space
development is a legitimate right of a sovereign state.”

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VOA 2. A History of Christmas in America
Today, Steve Ember and Shirley Griffith present a special program on Christmas
traditions in the United States during the first half of the 19th century.
During this period, there was no set way of celebrating the day, __________________
_______________________. Communities around the country honored the day in
different ways. Some observed Christmas as an important Christian religious day
honoring the birth of Jesus. Others celebrated the day with parties, music, drinking and
eating.__________________________________________________________________
But, it was during this period that Americans began to reinvent the holiday. They
combined ancient ____________________________________________________
__________.
Here are Steve Ember and Shirley Griffith.
In 1819, _______________________________________________ _______ ______
______________________The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.
The essays describe a wealthy British landowner who invites his farm workers into his
home to celebrate Christmas. The landowner recreates a traditional Christmas as it would
have been celebrated in the distant past. Irving praised this looking back to ancient
traditions._______________________________________________________________
_____________________________. Washington Irving seemed to express concern about
the lack of such unifying Christmas traditions in modern America.
Immigrants shape Christmas traditions
Penne Restad wrote a book Christmas in America: A History. It shows how Americans
began to slowly shape Christmas into a unifying national holiday during the first half of
the 19th century. _______________________________________________________
____________________. Many immigrants brought Christmas traditions from their own
countries.
Religion played a big role in how an American might celebrate the holiday. Calvinist
Christians banned the celebration of Christmas. __________________________
_____________________________________ and seasonal decorations.
By mid-century, Christian groups began to ignore their religious differences over the
meaning of Christmas and honored the day in special ways.
Christmas became an important time for families to celebrate at home. _____________
_________________________________________________________ and giving gifts.
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Christians believed that the tree represented Jesus and was also a sign of new beginnings.
German immigrants brought their tradition of putting lights, sweets and toys on the
branches of evergreen trees placed in their homes.
This tradition of setting up a Christmas tree soon spread to many American homes. ___
_______________________________________. As these traditions increased in
popularity, the modern trade and business linked to Christmas also grew.
Christmas as a holiday
As Christmas became more popular, some states declared the day a state holiday.
Louisiana was the first state to make the move in 1837. By 1860, 14 other states had
followed. It was not until 1870 that President Ulysses Grant made Christmas a federal
holiday.
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______________. But many new American Christmas songs started to become popular.
For example, in eighteen forty-nine, a religious leader from Massachusetts wrote the
words to It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.The song Jingle Bells appeared seven years
later. ___________________________________________________________________
_____________ We Three Kings of Orient Are.
And of course, no discussion of Christmas would be complete without talking about of
one of the holiday’s most famous representations, Santa Claus.
This character is based on the story of Saint Nicholas, a Christian holy person believed to
have lived in the third century. Saint Nicholas ______________________________.
Different cultures have given him different names. These include Sinterklaas, Kris
Kringle and Father Christmas. _____________________________________________
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In the 19th century, many Dutch immigrants living in the United States celebrated the
feast of Saint Nicholas on December 6. Saint Nicholas was especially important to New
Yorkers because of their history as a Dutch colony. In 1809, Washington Irving
published his History of New York. It lists Saint Nicholas as the patron saint of New
Yorkers. ______________________________________________________. Does this
description sound familiar?

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VOA 3. Mystery Solved: Apple Admits it Slows Some Older iPhones
Many people have long believed Apple intentionally slows down performance of iPhones
in an effort to get users to buy new ones.
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company explained it only took the action last year to prevent battery-related shutdowns.
Apple’s action – and the company’s decision to keep it secret - led to widespread
criticism from industry analysts and iPhone owners.
Owners of iPhones in several states are suing Apple. They accuse Apple of
violating fraud laws by purposely limiting performance without informing iPhone
owners that the problems might have been fixed by replacing the device battery. _______
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The issue of iPhone slowdowns in certain phones was recently noted in an online post by
the founder of software maker Primate Labs. In his post, John Poole cited test
results suggesting repeated reductions in iPhone performance over time.
The tests included the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7, with several different operating system
versions. _____________________________________________________________
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Poole said his company’s software that measures processor performance found that some
users who replaced their iPhone batteries reported much improved results.
But he was not convinced that old batteries were the whole problem. He came up with a
theory. He believed Apple must have made changes to the iOS software to limit iPhone
performance when battery capacity reached a certain point.
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It said the action was needed to prevent certain devices from suddenly shutting down.
The problem, Apple said, was connected to lithium-ion batteries inside the iPhone. The
batteries can fail in certain conditions – such as hot or cold - or as they age over time.
This can sometimes cause older iPhones to shut down, Apple said.
Apple said it released the new feature last year for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone
SE. It later added the iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2 and plans “to add support for other
products’ in the future.
“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall
performance and prolonging the life of their devices,” the Apple statement said.

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But many iPhone owners were not very forgiving of Apple’s decision, as evidenced on
Twitter:
In his reporting of the latest developments, Wired magazine’s Jordan McMahon pointed
out several ways Apple could have handled the situation before deciding to secretly slow
the phones.
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company could have even launched a program to sell owners battery replacement kits.
Apple has always strongly resisted having owners buy and replace their own iPhone
batteries. There are many companies that sell do-it-yourself kits or will do the service for
you.
Apple has its own battery replacement service – either in Apple stores or through the mail
- and charges $79 for any iPhone model that is no longer under warranty.
But based on the huge negative reaction to Apple’s change, ______________________
______________________________________. They have complained about being
forced to either buy a new, expensive iPhone, or switch brands to fix the problem.
Several economic analysts have lowered predictions for 2018 shipments of the iPhone X
as some news reports also suggested there will be much lower demand.
Taiwan’s Economic Daily reported Monday __________________________________
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I’m Bryan Lynn.
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VOA 4. Good Sports, Bad Sports
For the last several weeks, professional athletes have been on the first page of
newspapers as much as in the sports pages. _______________________________
___________________________________. Others are about athletes behaving badly.
Professional baseball players Cal Ripken and Tony Gywnn are among the heroes. They
were admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday at a ceremony in Cooperstown,
New York. About seventy-five thousand fans gathered there to celebrate. Both men
spoke about the importance of the public image of athletes. Gwynn said professional
baseball was about more than just playing. He said players need to do the right thing for
all the fans who love the sport. Ripken said players are behavior models whether they
like it or not. _________________________________________________________.
The speeches followed weeks of legal charges, accusations and investigations involving
sports professionals. In baseball, Barry Bonds is two homeruns away from breaking the
record set by Hank Aaron in nineteen seventy-six. Bonds' success has renewed
accusations that he used banned performance-improving drugs. ____________________
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Similar accusations of banned drug use also took place at the Tour de France bicycle race
last month. Several riders tested positive for a performance-improving drug. And, in the
final week of the race, the leading cyclist Michael Rasmussen of Denmark was expelled
on suspicion of taking banned drugs.
The International Cycling Union said there were more cases of doping in the Tour de
France this year because there was more testing.
An American professional football player is also in the news. Last week, Michael Vick
told a court in Richmond, Virginia, ______________________________________
_______________________________. The charges include extreme cruelty to animals.
Federal investigators say they found fight dogs and other evidence on Michael Vick's
property in Virginia earlier this year. A defendant who pled guilty in the case has agreed
to speak against Vick in court in return for a lesser sentence. Several sporting goods
companies that had paid Vick for _______________________________________
______________________________________. And an animal rights group, the
Humane Society, is urging the National Football League to suspend Vick from play.
Finally, some bad news in professional basketball- United States federal officials are
investigating former National Basketball Association referee Tim Donaghy. The referee
enforces the rules and keeps order in the game. ________________________________
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_____________________________________________. Donaghy is being investigated
for betting money on basketball games, including some in which he was a referee.He
resigned last month.
And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Caty Weaver. I’m Steve
Ember.
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VOA 5. Christmas Trees, Mistletoe and Poinsettias
This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
An evergreen tree is a Christmas tradition in many American homes. The tree is usually a
pine or fir dressed with lights and other colorful decorations.
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Some people bring a live tree in a pot into their home for the holidays and then put it
back outdoors.
Some people rent a Christmas tree. Companies might bring the same live tree to the same
family year after year. Or the tree might get planted in a park or someplace else where it
could help the environment.
There are some trees that can be reused year after year because they are made of plastic
or metal. _____________________________________________________________
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Another popular evergreen this time of year is the mistletoe plant. It has small white
berries and leaves that feel like leather. The traditional Christmas mistletoe is native to
Europe.
Ancient Druids believed mistletoe had magical powers. The plant can be found growing
on apple trees, lindens, maples and poplars. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant. ____________
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Today mistletoe is best known as an excuse to steal a kiss at a Christmas party. Kissing is
a tradition if two people stand under mistletoe hung in a doorway.
Another plant that many people connect with Christmas is the poinsettia. Poinsettias are
native to Mexico. They can be white or pink, but most are bright red. ______________
________________________________________________. Joel Poinsett liked them
enough to send some back to the United States.
Babies or pets that chew on poinsettias might get sick. But experts say the plant is not as
poisonous as some people think.
Like millions of other houses, the home of America's first president is decorated for
Christmas. George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate is in Virginia.

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Visitors can hear stories about what Christmas was like at Mount Vernon in the
eighteenth century. _______________________________________________________
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Yet Mount Vernon would not have had Christmas trees during the late seventeen
hundreds, when Washington led the country. They did not become popular in the United
States until the eighteen hundreds.
Visitors learn that in Washington's time, there was greenery inside the mansion, but that
was probably the extent of the decorations. And that's the VOA Special English
Agriculture Report. I'm Bob Doughty.
Contributing: Deborah Block and Jerilyn Watson
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VOA 6. The Mystery of the World's Oldest Leather Shoe
Nothing fits like an old shoe - especially if that shoe walked the earth five thousand five
hundred years ago. _______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________. Doctoral student Diana
Zardaryan of the Institute of Archeology found it in a cave near the border with Iran and
Turkey. She said "even the shoe laces were preserved."
It fact, the team of archeologists first thought it was about six or seven hundred years old.
Then two laboratories in the United States and Britain did radiocarbon tests. ________
___________________________________________ the Stonehenge formation in
England -- and a thousand years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
The cool and dry conditions in the cave protected the shoe and other objects. So did a
thick, solid layer of sheep dung covering the floor. This acted as a seal to prevent
damage.
The shoe was made from a single piece of cowhide. ____________________________
_____________________________________________. The shoe is small - a European
size thirty-seven, or a women's size seven in the United States.
The lead author of the research says he does not know if the shoe was made for a man or
a woman. Ron Pinhasi of University College in Cork, Ireland, says it could have fit a man
from that time period.
His team also found grass packed inside the shoe. _____________________________
_________________________________________. Or it could have been used to hold
the shape of the shoe while it was not being worn.
The shoe is similar in design to "pampooties." These were shoes worn on the Aran
Islands, in the west of Ireland, until the nineteen fifties. __________________________
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The team of scientists also found large containers of wheat, barley and apricots in the
cave, along with a broken pot and sheep's horns. They also found the graves of children
buried near the back of the cave. They do not know why all these things were found
together in one place. ___________________________________________________.
The archeologists published their findings in the online scientific journal PloS One, from
the Public Library of Science. They are continuing their work in Armenia. ___________
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The oldest footwear of any kind ever found are sandals made of plant material. Scientists
believe sandals found in the Arnold Research Cave in the American state of Missouri are
about seven thousand five hundred years old. __________________________________
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I'm Jim Tedder, VOA Special English.
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VOA 7. About Broccoli and Cauliflower
This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
Some people say broccoli looks like small trees, and cauliflower like gathered clouds.
____________________________________________________________. But these
nutritious vegetables also come in more colorful versions. One kind of cauliflower, for
example, is orange, and broccoli can be purple.
Broccoli and cauliflower are among the most nutritious vegetables. They are high in
Vitamin C, fiber and other nutrients. And ____________________________________
to fight cancer. They belong to the cabbage or cole family. Other members include
cabbage, collards, Brussels sprouts, kale and kohlrabi.
Agriculture experts at the Ohio State University Extension say broccoli and cauliflower
grow best in cooler climates. _____________________________________________
__________________________________________ and twenty-six degrees Celsius.
Both crops grow best in sunshine and fertile, moist soil. But water should not be standing
on the soil. Using mulch helps keep the ground moist and cool. Mulch also helps feed
the soil and controls weeds. ___________________________________________
___________________________. Vincent Fritz of the University of Minnesota
Extension suggests that results are far better with small plants. He says the vegetables
should be planted so that they can be harvested before the hottest weather.
_____________________________________________________________. One
suggestion is to plant them in rows about three quarters of a meter to nearly one meter
apart.
Then place broccoli plants about twenty to thirty centimeters apart in the rows. Set
cauliflower plants thirty-eight to about forty-six centimeters from each other in the rows.
As it grows, a cauliflower plant will start to form a head. _____________________
____________________________________________. Gather and tie the leaves over
the head, and do not wait for the buds to separate before harvesting.
Harvest the center flower-bud cluster of broccoli when it reaches the size you want and
while the buds are still tightly together. ______________________________________
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You can eat broccoli and cauliflower raw. Or you can steam them in a small amount of
water or stir fry them in a small amount of oil. The less time they cook, the better.
And that’s the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn Watson. Im Bob Doughty.

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VOA 8. About Cherries
I'm Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
There is something hard to resist about cherries. The small red fruit is a popular seasonal
food around the world. In northern areas, cherry trees are just beginning to produce
flowers.
____________________________________________________________________. It
is closely related to the plum. Like cherry trees, plum trees also flower in early spring.
Cherries are thought to be native to western Asia. There are two major kinds of cherries
harvested in the world: sweet and sour.
Sour cherries are not eaten fresh because they contain little sugar. Instead, they are
processed to make prepared foods like jellies and pies and to make alcoholic drinks. __
_______________________________. Among the states, Michigan is the top producer.
___________________________________________________________________.
Sweet cherries contain much more sugar than their sour relatives and are usually eaten
fresh. Washington State is the biggest American producer, followed by California and
Oregon.
The United States, Iran and Turkey are major producers of sweet cherries. In the United
States, production fell by twenty percent last year after a record harvest in two thousand
four.
Fresh cherries do not store well. They must reach market as soon as possible. ________
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Farmers produce different kinds of cherries through the process of grafting. They take
cuttings from existing trees and join them to related trees, known as root stock. The
cuttings, called scions [SY-uhnz], __________________________________________
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Cherry trees are also valued for their springtime blossoms.
Cherry blossoms are popular in many parts of Asia and Europe. But Washington, D.C.,
has some of the most famous cherry trees in the world. ______________________
___________________________________________. There were twelve different kinds
of cherry trees, but most were a kind called Yoshino.
Years later Japan gave another gift of three thousand eight hundred trees. __________
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Japan with cuttings from the Yoshino trees in Washington. These cuttings helped replace
Japanese trees lost in a flood.
This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Mario Ritter. Read and
listen to our reports at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.
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VOA 9. Health: Looking for Skin Cancer

I'm Faith Lapidus with the VOA Special English HEALTH REPORT.
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. The risk increases in summer
because ultraviolet rays from the sun are the main cause of skin cancer. Tanning beds
can also be high in UV radiation.
_______________________________________________, hair or eyes are at greatest
risk. A history of sunburns early in life also increases the risk. So does a family history
of skin cancer.
The sooner skin cancer is found, the easier it is to treat. So doctors advise people to
examine all areas of their skin once a month, from the top of their head to the bottom of
their feet. Even look under the nails and between the toes.
Professional examinations are also important. See a doctor if a mole bleeds or itches or is
bigger than six millimeters.
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________________________________________________________. The Cleveland
Clinic suggests taking pictures of moles and dating the images to compare over time.
The two most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell cancers.
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Melanoma is far more dangerous. Melanomas can appear even in areas of the body that
do not get a lot of sun. They can be flat or raised and have areas of black, brown and
other colors. __________________________________________________________.
Without early treatment, deadly melanomas can quickly spread within the body.
Hats, sunglasses and clothing offer protection from harmful sunrays, but that can depend.
Experts say the denser the weave of the material, the less ultraviolet radiation reaches the
skin. Also, darker colors may offer more protection, and natural cotton can block more
than bleached cotton. __________________________________________
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Choose sunscreen products and sunglasses designed to protect against both UV-A and
UV-B rays. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remind people to
put on sunscreen before they go outdoors.
UV levels can be high even on cloudy days.
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Put a thick amount on all areas of skin that will get sun. ________________________
_______________________________, and after you swim or sweat a lot from activities.
This VOA Special English HEALTH REPORT was written by Brianna Blake. To learn
more about skin cancer, go to voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Faith Lapidus.

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VOA 10. Wisdom Teeth
This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
Wisdom teeth are normally the last teeth to appear. This usually happens when people are
in their late teen years or early twenties -- in other words, when they are older and wiser.
__________________________________________________________. The third set of
molars, if you have them, are your wisdom teeth.
They can grow into place normally and never cause a problem. But often there is not
enough room for them in the mouth. They might crowd other teeth. Sometimes they even
push sideways through the gums.
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the term is erupt. Wisdom teeth that only partially erupt can leave space for bacteria to
enter around the tooth. Infection is a risk in these cases.
Wisdom teeth that are not well aligned and become impacted are often removed.
People should have the placement of their wisdom teeth examined between the ages of
sixteen and twenty. X-rays can show wisdom teeth that are below the gums.
The American Dental Association says removal is generally advised when wisdom teeth
only partly break through the gums. Removal is also advised if there is a chance that
poorly aligned wisdom teeth will damage other teeth. ___________________________
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But why do we have wisdom teeth if we often need to get them removed? One theory has
to do with our diets. Scientists say the diet of prehistoric humans probably required more
chewing teeth. _________________________________________________________
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The removal of wisdom teeth is performed by oral surgeons. They say if removal is
advised, the best time to do it is before the teeth cause any problems or pain.
The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons says young adults are the
best candidates for wisdom teeth removal. _____________________________________
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Patients can have general anesthesia during the operation. Or they might choose to have a
local painkiller and remain awake. It may depend on the condition of the wisdom teeth
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can be treated with cold wraps and medication.
And that’s the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. I’m Shirley
Griffith.
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VOA 11. What Do You Know About the Common Cold?
This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
Do you think getting cold can give you a cold? Is it bad to drink milk when you have a
cold? Can chicken soup cure a cold?
Ranit Mishori is a family medicine doctor at Georgetown University Medical Center in
Washington. She says colds are more common in winter, but not because of low
temperatures. _____________________________________________________.
RANIT MISHORI: "People tend to congregate and be together and the way the common
cold virus is transmitted from one person to another is through handshakes, through
sneezing, or coughing on one another."
Adults generally get two to three colds a year. Children are likely to catch four or five.
Dr. Mishori says some people mistakenly believe they can become resistant to colds.
RANIT MISHORI: "__________________________________________________
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infected one time you develop immunity for the rest of your life. This is wrong."
There is still no cure for the common cold. But Dr. Mishori says there are ways to feel
better sooner.
RANIT MISHORI: "So if you get a cold and on day one and you start taking about two
grams of vitamin C a day, there is evidence that it might shorten the number of days that
you will be suffering with these symptoms."
She says honey can also help.
RANIT MISHORI: "_____________________________________________________
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Dr. Mishori says honey seems to be especially effective in children with colds. But the
Agriculture Department says never to feed honey to babies less than one year old. It says
even honey in prepared foods may contain substances that can make babies very sick.
Some people believe in treating a cold with chicken soup. Does it work?
RANIT MISHORI: "Chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties, so it helps reduce
the duration of the cold but also it helps clear the mucus."
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Have you ever heard the old saying "feed a cold, starve a fever"? Dr. Mishori says this is
not necessarily a good guideline to follow. She says if you have a cold but do not feel
hungry, then don't eat.
RANIT MISHORI: "But you have to drink a lot and you can drink water or you can drink
tea -- anything that gets fluids into your body. That's very important."
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_______________________________________________. Dr. Mishori says yes and no.
RANIT MISHORI: "Dairy products do not cause increased secretions, but they can
thicken the secretions. So it's possible that discomfort is somewhat more enhanced when
you drink milk. But obviously, if you’re a baby and that's all you drink, _____________
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VOA 12. Colds, Flu and Folk Advice

This is the VOA Special English HEALTH REPORT.


Autumn and winter are cold and flu season - when people are most likely to catch the
viruses that cause influenza and the common cold.
_____________________________________________________________? Or if you
do get sick, should you follow the old saying, "Feed a cold and starve a fever"?
And what about that fever? Should you take medication to reduce your temperature, or is
it better to let the body treat the infection itself?
Everyone seems to have an answer. But how much value is there in popular wisdom?
Doctor Alvin Nelson El Amin knows a lot about cold and flu season in California. He is
medical director of the immunization program for the Los Angeles County Department of
Public Health.
Doctor Nelson El Amin says research may be just starting to provide evidence for long-
held beliefs. ___________________________________________________________
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But recent studies have shown that cold temperatures cause stress on the body. That
stress can create conditions more inviting to viruses. So maybe it does make sense to
wrap up warmly before going outside.
And what about the advice to feed a cold and starve a fever? Doctor Nelson El Amin says
if you have a cold and are hungry, you should eat. But a fever, especially a high one,
suggests a more serious problem. ________________________________________
_______________________________________________. Eating might even cause a
person to vomit. But drinking plenty of liquids is important. A fever can easily dehydrate
the body.
Finally, when should you treat a fever? Doctor Nelson El Amin says a fever should be
treated if it stays at forty degrees centigrade or above for a day or more. A temperature
that high can damage brain cells. ___________________________________________
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Aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen can all be used to reduce pain and fever. But
aspirin should not be given to children because it can cause a rare condition.

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One belief that Doctor Nelson El Amin wanted to make clear is wrong is that influenza
vaccine can cause the flu. It cannot. __________________________________________
__________________________________________, so they blame the vaccine, he says.
But, flu vaccines do not protect everyone who gets them. Still, even if a person does get
sick, the vaccine can limit the effects of the virus.
And that's the VOA Special English HEALTH REPORT, written by Caty Weaver. I'm
Bob Doughty.
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VOA 13. Food Safety After a Flood

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

Food that has come in contact with floodwaters can sicken anyone who eats it. Water
from floods may contain animal and human waste. It can also contain other pollutants
like chemicals from agriculture and industry.

After a flood, food safety specialists at the United States Department of Agriculture have
this advice:

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Also, throw away boxes of juice, milk or baby formula if they have come into contact
with floodwater.

The Department of Health in the state of Minnesota says you should throw away anything
in soft packaging. And the Extension Service at North Dakota State University offers
other advice:

Do not save plastic bags of food even if boxes or containers inside the bags appear dry.

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And throw away screw-topped or crimp-topped jars and bottles even if they have never
been opened.

Glass jars and bottles of home-canned foods should be thrown out as well. Experts say
the containers cannot be effectively cleaned after a flood.

Throw away damaged metal cans or hard plastic containers. Do not use cans that are
swollen or leaking, or that are rusted or crushed.

But food safety experts say that some unopened, undamaged all-metal cans can be saved.
First, remove any labels. The paper may contain dirt and germs from the floodwater.
Wash the cans with soap and water, and brush or wipe away dirt. ___________________
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Next, place the cans again in water and heat the water to one hundred degrees Celsius.
Boil the cans for two minutes.

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Another way to disinfect the cans is in a freshly made solution of chlorine bleach. Use
eight drops of unscented liquid bleach for every four liters of water. Use drinking water
or the cleanest, clearest water available. Place the cans in the solution for fifteen minutes.

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And that’s the VOA Special English Development Report. You can read, download and
comment on our reports at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Fritzi Bodenheimer.

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VOA 14. Keeping Your Ears Clean

This is the VOA Special English HEALTH REPORT.


Some people's ears produce wax like busy little bees. This can be a problem even though
earwax appears to serve an important purpose.
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So earwax is good. It even has a medical name: cerumen. And there are two kinds. Most
people of European or African ancestry have the "wet" kind: thick and sticky. East Asians
commonly have "dry" earwax.
But you can have too much of a good thing.
The glands in the ear canal that produce the wax make too much in some people. Earwax
is normally expelled; it falls out of the ear or gets washed away. ___________________
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People can also cause a blockage when they try to clean out their ears -- but only push the
wax deeper inside. Earwax removal is sometimes necessary. But you have to use a safe
method or you could do a lot of damage.
Experts at N.I.H., the National Institutes of Health, suggest some ways to treat excessive
earwax yourself. ________________________________________________________
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Another way to remove wax is known as irrigation. With the head upright, take hold of
the outer part of the ear. Gently pull upward to straighten the ear canal. _____________
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The experts at N.I.H. say you may have to repeat this process a few times. Use water that
is body temperature. If the water is cooler or warmer, it could make you feel dizzy. Never
try irrigation if the eardrum is broken. It could lead to infection and other problems.
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You should never put a cotton swab or other object into the ear canal. But you can use a
swab or cloth to clean the outer part of the ear. The experts agree with the old saying that
you should never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.
And that's the VOA Special English HEALTH REPORT, written by Caty Weaver. For
more health news, go to voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.
Write new words here:

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VOA 15. Staying Healthy by Washing Your Hands

This is the VOA Special English HEALTH REPORT.

Hand washing is a powerful way to prevent the spread of disease.

The World Bank, the United Nations and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical
Medicine did a study to urge hand washing around the world. They found that one
million lives could be saved each year if people washed their hands with soap often. ___
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Doctors say many diseases can be prevented from spreading by hand washing. These
include pinworms, influenza, the common cold, hepatitis A, meningitis and infectious
diarrhea.

Hand washing destroys germs from other people, animals or objects a person has
touched. When people get bacteria on their hands, they can infect themselves by touching
their eyes, nose or mouth. Then these people can infect other people.

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The experts say that hand washing is especially important before and after preparing
food, before eating and after using the toilet. _________________________________
____________________________________________. The experts say it is also a good
idea to wash your hands after handling money and after sneezing or coughing. And it is
important to wash your hands often when someone in your home is sick.

The experts say the most effective way to wash your hands is to rub them together while
using soap and warm water. They say you do not have to use special antibacterial soap.
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rubbing action helps remove germs. Then rinse the hands with water and dry them.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are rubbed into the hands and do not require soap and
water. Experts say these products must contain at least sixty percent alcohol to be
effective in killing most bacteria and viruses.

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And that's the VOA Special English HEALTH REPORT, written by Nancy Steinbach.
For more news and information about health, go to voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve
Ember.

Write new words here:

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VOA 16. Parents Warned on Use of Cough and Cold Medicines in Children

This is the VOA Special English HEALTH REPORT.


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Some doctors say cough and cold products do not work in children, and they worry about
possible risks. F.D.A. officials say that some reports of problems appear to be the result
of giving too much medicine to children. This may lead to serious and life-threatening
side effects, especially in children age two and younger.
The products are sold without the need for a doctor's approval. __________________
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____________________________. There is a risk, for example, in taking more than one
product containing the same active chemicals.
Too much cold medicine may affect the heart. Some medicines have also been linked to
high blood pressure and strokes.
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F.D.A. officials have this warning for parents: Do not use cough and cold products in
children under two years of age unless a health care provider tells you to.
The officials also have other advice. For example, children should never be given
medicines that are meant for adults. Cough and cold medicines are sold in different
strengths. Ask a medical professional if you are not sure about the right product for a
child.
If a child is being given other medicines, the child's health care provider should approve
their combined use.
Read all the information and warnings provided with a drug and carefully follow the
directions for use.
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The F.D.A points out that children get better with time and that cough and cold medicines
only treat signs of the common cold. They are not a cure. _________________________
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And that's the VOA Special English HEALTH REPORT, written by Brianna Blake. I'm
Barbara Klein.
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VOA 17. Earthworms

You can also watch a YouTube video of this.


This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
What can you do with earthworms? Some people use the creepy crawlers to catch fish.
But others put worms to work making compost. Compost looks and feels like good soil.
Gardeners and farmers add it to soil to make plants grow better.
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Kim Gabel from the University of Florida Extension service in Key West suggests using
red worms known as red wigglers.
KIM GABEL: "The red wigglers are the best varieties for doing it because they are more
of a surface feeder. Because different worms live in different strata, or portions of the
earth."
You need a container to hold the waste and the worms. The size of the composting bin
depends on how much compost you want to make. _____________________________
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Kim Gabel says the bin needs holes so the worms can get air.
KIM GABEL: "The worms do breathe. So that is a very important factor, along with they
also like to be in the dark."
So cover the bin to keep out the light.
One thing worms do not like is very high temperatures. Kim Gabel lives in the warm
climate of southern Florida. She keeps her worm bin indoors. ____________________
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For composting with worms, you need bedding that is moist but not too wet. The amount
of water you add will depend on the bedding material you use. Kim Gabel uses
newspaper cut into strips about two and a half centimeters wide. Add two handfuls of soil
for every half square meter of bedding material and mix well.
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When you feed the worms, place the food about two and a half centimeters below the
surface of the bedding and cover it.
The worm's waste, or castings, should be ready to use as compost within two to six
months.
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And that’s the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn Watson. Have
you ever made compost with worms? Tell us your story at voaspecialenglish.com. I’m
Jim Tedder.
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VOA 18. Bees and Beekeeping, Part 1

I'm Steve Ember with the VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT.
Most people have heard the sound of bees among flowers. Bees live almost everywhere
in the world - except the arctic areas. Many kinds of agriculture depend on these small,
social insects. _________________________________________________________
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There are more than twenty thousand kinds of bees. But only honey bees make enough
honey for people to use. Honey bees are highly organized social insects. They work
together in a group called a colony. _____________________________________
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has only a few hundred males, called drones. The majority of all bees in a colony are
workers, which are all females.
Bees even have a special stomach, called a honey stomach. It is used to store sweet fluid
that the bees gather from flowers. ______________________________________
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is taken back to the hive. Some, however, is passed to the next flower. This is how many
plants are fertilized. Pollen is the reproductive material of plants. Many important
agricultural crops depend on bees for fertilization.
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_____________. They may even gather nectar from some other kinds of insects. These
kinds of nectar are also stored in the hive. Bees have organs that produce a fatty
substance called wax. They use wax to build structures in the hive that hold eggs and
store honey.
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Honey can be very thin and light in color or dark and thick. How the honey looks
depends on the kinds of flowers used by the bees. Most honey is the easily recognized
golden color. Although bees are often thought of as honey-makers, they provide a
surprising number of products. Also, their greatest economic value is in fertilizing crops
-- not in making honey.
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This VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT was written by Mario Ritter.
Our reports are online at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.
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VOA 19. Bees and Beekeeping, Part 2

I'm Steve Ember with the VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT.
Last week we talked about how bees make honey. Yet bees also produce other useful
materials.
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The beauty industry uses a lot of beeswax as a base for skin care products. Anyone who
has ever lit a candle might have lit one made of beeswax. Woodworkers mix beeswax
with oils to protect wood surfaces. And leatherworkers use beeswax to protect leather
from water.
There is even an old saying, "mind your own beeswax." It means "mind your own
business." We never said it was a nice old saying.
The "beeswax" in this case may only be a play on the word "business." But some people
do mind their beeswax. It is their business.
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Most people know not to interfere with a busy bee. Worker bees have a sting that can
inject poison. But the poison is also a valuable product. In some people, a bee sting
causes their throat or tongue to swell up. This reaction can be deadly. But treatment with
bee poison can sometimes help protect people who suffer these reactions.
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Africanized honey bees are very aggressive. They have killed animals and people. In the
nineteen seventies, they became known as "killer bees." This may overstate the threat.
But Africanized bees must be treated with special care.
Bees face threats of their own. In the Americas, Asia and Europe, mites can destroy
hives. The tiny creatures suck the blood of bees. Wax moths are insects that eat wax in
the hive. And there are bacterial diseases that attack and destroy young bees.

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_______________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________. Listen next week for
the final part of our report.
This VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT was written by Mario Ritter.
Our reports are online at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.
Write new words here:

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VOA 20. Bees and Beekeeping, Part 3
I'm Steve Ember with the VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT.
Bees not only produce honey and wax, they also provide an important service to farmers.
Many crops require bees to pollinate them.
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Many different fruits, vegetables, nuts and seed crops depend on bees for reproduction.
Also, many flowers grown for their beauty need bees to pollinate them.
In the United States, the secretary of agriculture appoints industry leaders to the National
Honey Board. This group provides production information about the honey and
beekeeping business. One of the reports said bees pollinated more than fourteen and one-
half thousand million dollars worth of crops in two thousand.
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Experts say even crops that do not require bee pollination can be increased with the help
of bees. Also, the quality of many crops depends on the amount of pollination they
receive. ______________________________________________________________
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Pollinated crops supply much of the vegetable fats in the human diet. As much as one-
third of all food products are directly or indirectly linked to bee-pollinated crops. Bee
pollination is a central activity in the food supply chain.
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Today, many beekeepers see pollination as a more important activity than producing
honey. _______________________________________________________________
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This VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT was written by Mario Ritter.
This was the third and final part of our report about bees and beekeeping. Internet users
can read and listen to all of our reports at voaspecialenglish.com.

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If you have a general question about agriculture, e-mail it to special@voanews.com.
Please include your name and where you are. We cannot answer questions personally,
but we might be able to use them in our reports. I'm Steve Ember.
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