More than 7,000 complaints against Britain's banks are being lodged by customers every day, according to the Daily Mail. Full story >>
VOCABULARY A complaint is a statement in which you express your dissatisfaction with a particular situation. • The government says there have been 54 consumer complaints about the steering in the Mini Cooper.
WordStash is a free online vocabulary builder built on top of a dictionary. It has an automated study tool that asks multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions and uses spaced repetition for efficient learning. The site also has contextual examples from real online news sources for each word.
WHAT I THINK WordStash allows you to create your own vocabulary lists or view those created by other users. Useful for preparing exams like the GMAT or TOEFL, but not so good for business English—the word 'brand' was defined as 'a piece of red-hot wood'!
VOCABULARY Someone or something that is saucy refers to sex in a lighthearted, amusing way. • A saucy motorcycle ad which features a woman saying, "I'll be your bike, let's go for a ride," has been cleared to air.
The Guardian reports that new leader Ed Miliband has launched Labour on a five-year campaign to regain power, saying he will lead a new generation of radical optimists determined to take on established thinking, speak for the majority and reshape the centre ground of politics. Full story >>
VOCABULARY An optimist is someone who is hopeful about the future or a person with a positive outlook on life. • Diana Blenkhorn is the eternal optimist who firmly the believes the glass is half full as opposed to being empty when it comes to the region's forestry industry.
Today's cartoon by Mac in the Daily Mail relates to the fratricidal battle between Ed Miliband and his brother David for the leadership of the UK Labour Party. Ed was finally elected leader (see previous post), putting paid to the political ambitions of his better-known older brother.
The cartoon shows a young boy in his bedroom at his computer. His baby brother's cot is empty. He tells his horrified parents: "I'm sorry. I didn't want my political ambitions thwarted, so I sold him on eBay."
VOCABULARY If you thwart someone or thwart their plans, you prevent them from doing or getting what they want. • Campaigners trying to thwart expansion plans at Stansted Airport have welcomed the election of Ed Miliband as the new leader of the Labour party.
The Telegraph leads with a plea by the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. He has urged households to spend - not save - to help fuel Britain's economic recovery. Full story >>
VOCABUALARY To moan means to complain or speak in a way which shows that you are very unhappy. • French language purists continually moan about the invasion of English words such as 'parking' and 'stop' into their vocabulary.
The Telegraph proclaims 'New Labour is Dead' and says the Tories are delighted with Ed Miliband's rise to party leader.
VOCABULARY New Labour is a term used to describe the British Labour Party as it has developed since 1995, abandoning the principle of state ownership and moving towards a greater acceptance of a free-market economy. New Labour as a name has no official status, but remains in common use to distinguish modernisers from those holding to more traditional positions, normally referred to as "Old Labour".
In the cartoon Ed and David are portrayed as schoolboys. David is lying dazed on the floor. The brothers have been fighting over a toy train, and Ed has won. The train is clearly a metaphor for the Labour party as it is red (Labour's colour) and has a white rose (Labour's emblem) on the engine.
VOCABULARY The word fight can refer to a violent struggle (as in the cartoon) or a political contest (as in the title of this post). The cartoon plays on this double meaning.
The Observer says the younger Miliband's win in the Labour leadership contest was not without controversy as his narrow victory was widely credited to union members. His brother David received stronger backing from MPs and MEPs. Full story >>
VOCABULARY A stunning event is extremely unusual or unexpected. • A 3-yard touchdown run in the second overtime gave the Grizzlies a stunning 48-42 victory over Dana Hills.
23 years after trumpeting the merits of greed, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) returns to the big screen in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." Can it compare to the 1987 original? View transcript >>
COMMENT The original Wall Street is one of my all-time favourite movies, and one that I've often used in class. The scene where Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) meets Gordon Gekko for the first time is a classic. And then there's Gekko's 'Greed is Good' speech to the Teldar shareholders. Great stuff!
Today's cartoon by Peter Brookes from The Times is a comment on the execution by lethal injection of Teresa Lewis in the state of Virginia. Lewis, who plotted to kill her husband and stepson, had been tried and convicted for conspiracy to commit murder. She is one of only a dozen women to be executed in the United States since the late 1970′s. The execution went ahead despite protests from lawyers, international celebrities and others who argued that she should have been given clemency because of her low IQ. Under US law, anyone with an IQ of 70 avoids the death penalty. Lewis was judged to have an IQ of 72.
The cartoon is a parody of the classic depiction of the evolution of man. Against the background of the American flag, key stages in man's evolution are shown, from ape through to Homo Sapiens, culminating in the doctor giving a lethal injection to a blindfolded woman strapped onto a table.
The 'evolution of man' image has been widely parodied before. See here for more examples.