Sunday, 18 March 2012

Objective Proficiency p 170. Laughter’s the Best Medicine. Extra Reading

Having a good laugh with friends really does help us to deal with pain, suggests a new study. The international research team, led by Oxford University, found that when we laugh properly, as opposed to producing a polite titter, the physical exertion leaves us exhausted and thereby triggers the release of protective endorphins. These endorphins, one of the complex neuropeptide chemicals produced in the brain, manage pain and promote feelings of well being. According to the team’s research paper, published online in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, watching just 15 minutes of comedy with others increased the pain threshold by an average of about ten per cent.

Objective Proficiency p 170. The Bottomless Pit. Extra Joke

Objective Proficiency p 170. Intelligent Life in Washington D.C.? Extra Humour

Objective Proficiency p 170. Paraprosdokians. Extra Humour

A paraprosdokian /pærəprɒsˈdoʊkiən/ is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an early phrase, but they also play on the double meaning of a particular word.

1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

9. I didn't say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you.

10. In filling out an application, where it says, 'In case of emergency, Notify:' I put, 'DOCTOR'.

11. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

12. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive more than once.

13. I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure..

14. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

15. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

16. You're never too old to learn something stupid.

17. I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it
s getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

Objective Proficiency p 170. U.S. Shocked Andorra Not In Africa. Extra Listening

To read or watch more news visit The Onion website

Objective Proficiency p 170. If You See Someone Drowning. Extra Joke

Friday, 16 March 2012

Objective Proficiency p 168. Nathan Fielder: an Out-of-Town Wedding

Objective Proficiency p 168. Witty sentences

1. I recently got crushed by a pile of books, but I suppose I've only got my shelf to blame.

  2. A man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation for a local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

  3. I went to a really emotional wedding the other day. Even the cake was in tiers.

  4. I had to quit my job at the shoe recycling factory. It was just sole destroying.

  5. I was getting in to my car the other day when a man asked me, 'Buddy, can you give me a lift?' I said, 'Sure, you look great, chase your dreams, go for it!'

  6. I've decided to sell my vacuum. Well, it was just gathering dust.

  7. What's the best time to go to the dentist? Tooth-hurtie.

  9. Never date tennis players. Love means nothing to them.

10. My wife and I were happy for 20 years. Then we met.

11. Why didn't the lifeguard save the hippie? Because he was too far out, man.

12. I saw a documentary on how ships are kept together. Riveting!

13. I was overcharged for Velcro last week. What a rip off.

14. I think I'm emotionally constipated. I just can't seem to give a shit.

15. I've been reading a book about anti-gravity. It's impossible to put down.

16. A train stops at a train station. A bus stops at a bus station. Now why is my desk called a 'work station'?

17. How do prisoners call each other? On their cell phones.

18. The thing about dwarfs and midgets is that they have very little in common.

19. Have you heard about the magic tractor? It turned into a field.

20. To the guy who invented zero: Thanks for nothing!

21. I hate Russian Dolls. They're so full of themselves.

22. I used to be a banker, but over time I lost interest.

23. I was thinking about getting a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind.

24. I can't understand why people are so bothered about me not knowing what the word 'apocalypse' means. Sheesh, it's not like it's the end of the world or something!

25. Why can't a bike stand on its own? It's two-tired!

26. Did you hear about the man who lost his entire left side in an accident? He's all right now.

27. If I could only take one thing to a desert island, I probably wouldn't bother going.

28. I couldn't figure out how to fasten my seat belt for ages. But then one day, it just clicked.

29. My first job was at a calendar factory. I can't believe they sacked me... all I did was take a day off!

30. I was going to tell my pizza joke, but I think it's a bit too cheesy.

Objective Proficiency p 168. How Mothers Deliver a Baby. Extra Listening

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Objective Proficiency p 160. The Battle for Stonehenge: A Culture Show Special. Extra Listening

Objective Proficiency p 160. Shakespeare Speaks: a Fool’s Paradise . Extra Listening


BBC Website

A fool's paradise

These days, the phrase a fool's paradise describes any situation that somebody thinks is good, without realising that it won't last – or that it's actually bad.

Example sentence
Jack's work is terrible. He's living in a fool's paradise if he thinks he's getting a pay rise.
The euro: Good bet or a fool's paradise? (BBC News headline, written when the value of the single European currency fell to record lows – making it cheap to buy for investors, but not particularly safe)
The phrase a fool's paradise is often used with the verb live in the appropriate form:
  • He's living in a fool's paradise
  • She lived in a fool's paradise 
  • She needs to stop living in a fool’s paradise
  • Do you have any friends who are living in a fool's paradise
We can also use the phrase a fool’s paradise with the verb be:
  • It's a fool's paradise
  • Her happiness was a fool's paradise

Romeo and Juliet, the star-cross'd lovers
William Shakespeare's tale of the star-crossed lovers continues to have a powerful effect on audiences and the main story of forbidden love is still relevant today. Young people all over the world can relate to parents becoming involved in their love lives - not normally with such dramatic results fortunately!

star-crossed lovers
very unlucky lovers

a fool
a silly person

fool someone

trick or deceive someone

have your way with someone

have sex with someone

do right by someone

treat someone well and fairly. E.g. do you think Robert will do right by Janet?

Expressions for talking about reality and fantasy. 

Useful phrases to describe people with unrealistic - and realistic - plans and ideas.
Do you know the difference between reality and fantasy?

come back to earth (with a bump)
to accept reality again after a pleasant experience or a hopeful dream. E.g. Do you think poor Janet will come back to earth with a bump?

to have your head in the clouds
to be unaware of what is happening around you in the real world

a wishful thinker

a person who has hopes and plans that are unlikely to happen in reality

living in a dream world

having ideas or hopes which are not practical and are not likely to be successful

a pipe dream

a hope which is impossible to achieve or not realistic


sensible and realistic

someone who has the ability to think clearly and realistically and makes good decisions

to have your feet on the ground

to be sensible, practical and realistic

clutch/grasp at straws
to try all possible means to find a solution or some hope in a difficult or unpleasant situation, even though this seems very unlikely. E.g. I know I’m just clutching at straws here, but is it possible that the doctors are wrong?

We'd like you to tell us about how realistic you think you are. Have you ever lived in a fool's paradise? Or have you had a pipe dream or done some wishful thinking in the past? What happened to bring you back down to earth?  

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Objective Proficiency p 158. Writing an Article

An international ecology magazine has invited readers to contribute an article to a special edition entitled Ways to save our planet. Write an article outlining the environmental measures you think should be taken by individuals and by governments and evaluating their chances of success.

To see how to write articles click here and also here. You can also get some ideas on how to write articles on pages 90, 91, 158, 159, 174 & 175. Finally, you can find useful language for writing here.   
Get some ideas on the topic here:
Objective Proficiency p 112. The Future of Wind Power. Extra Listening and Reading 
Objective Proficiency p 24. The Weather and Climate Change. Extra Speaking
Speakout Advanced p 47. The Environment. Extra Speaking
Speakout Advanced p 75. Story of Stuff. Extra Listening
Ready for CAE p 158. HOME (English with subtitles). Extra Listening

Useful vocabulary for this topic

a population in excess of 6 billion people
this can lead us to extinction
Arctic ice has thawed into the oceans 
Appearances can be deceptive
We are playing with fire
It is of the utmost importance that we stem (stop the flow) greenhouse gas emissions as they are at the root of the problem. No mean feat (not easy) by the way.
Governments should stop protecting the energy companies' vested interests (private interests), and instead, help to bring about a sustainable energy model, based on renewable resources. 
red tape: official rules that seem more complicated than necessary and prevent things from being done quickly. E.g. You have to go through endless red tape to get solar panels or to set up a solar farm (also solar park or photovoltaic power station). 
Consumers should buy products that try to minimize the carbon footprint. It only consists in buying locally produced groceries.
carpool: if a group of people carpool, they travel to work together in one car and divide the cost between them. E.g. Needless to say, carpooling and the use of public transport help to reduce pollution levels.
unbridled /ʌnˈbraɪdld/ not controlled and therefore extreme. E.g. We need to put a stop to this unbridled shopping spree that has taken hold of (control) society at large (as a whole; in general).
It is generally accepted that the situation has come to a head (if a situation comes to a head, you are forced to deal with it quickly because it suddenly becomes very bad)
Without a shadow of a doubt our survival is at stake (that can be won or lost, depending on the success of a particular action. Sp . en juego. E.g. We cannot afford to take risks when people's lives are at stake. The prize at stake is a place in the final).

Another idea for an article:
An English-language newspaper is inviting readers to contribute to a series of articles about clothing. You decide to write an article about wearing the right clothes for the right occasion. You can find useful vocabulary to talk about clothing here.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Objective Proficiency p 157. Problem Solution Essay Outline. Extra Writing

A problem-solution essay: tens of thousands of people are fleeing civil war and unrest to find new homes in Europe—sometimes with tragic consequences. The U.N. estimates that more people have been displaced than at any time since World War II. Write a problem-solution essay for your local newspaper about this social issue with a title related to the global refugee Crisis.  You will get more ideas on how to write a problem-solution essay below. You will find useful language for this topic here, here and here. You will find useful language for writing here, here , here , here  and here .
Here you have other ideas for a problem-solution essay:

  • Human rights
  • Child labour
  • Economic development 
  • Economic inequality: the gap between rich and poor
  • Intellectual Property
  • Capital punishment
  • Religious freedom
  • Environmental awareness
  • Illegal immigration
  • Civil liberties
  • Free trade
  • Freedom of speech
  • Gun control
  • Forced evictions: Global Crisis, Global Solutions
Problem Solution Essay Outline

I. Introduction
1. Get the reader’s attention by using a “hook”. (e.g. Imagine… or ask a rhetorical questions: How many people are killed with guns every year?)

2. State the problem. (thesis)

E.g. There is a (big, substantial, terrible, annoying) problem of _____________________ in (the world, our city, the United States, among teenagers, our schools) today.

Reference to research/ facts and figures:
E.g. The figures illustrate/ This illustrates one of today's most important issues: gun control.
This (fact) represents a growing problem.
 It will suffice to say that/ Suffice it to say that the latest research in this field shows that increased crime

suffice (it) to say (that)…: used to suggest that although you could say more, what you do say will be enough to explain what you mean. E.g. I won’t go into all the details. Suffice it to say that the whole event was a complete disaster.

Tell who is affected by (involved in) the problem.
Tell how those groups or people are affected.

Describe the causes of the problem
One of the causes of these figures/ this problem is...
This is largely due to...
Another reason is the...

Describe the consequences of the problem 
The country has an extremely violent past and this has resulted in an ingrained need to protect oneself...
This has led to...
This has brought about a change...
bring something about to make something happen.
One of the consequences of this is...

II. 1st Solution
1. State your first solution
E.g. To begin with…… OR One solution to this problem is…….
2. Explain how your solution will work & how it relates to the problem – use the 3e’s explain, expand, example
How can countries reduce the number of gun deaths? A complete ban on guns is barely imaginable in the US. However, there are a number of other options. These include developing better systems for introducing tougher prison sentences for people who own guns illegally.
The problem is that these solutions have already been proposed, passed into law and denounced as failures.
III. 2nd Solution
1. State your second solution
E.g. Another solution to the problem of __________________ is……. OR In addition ….
One possible solution that has not been tried yet is... This would mean that...
There are a number of (other) options. These include...
2. Explain how your solution will work & how it relates to the problem – use the 3e’s explain, expand, example

IV. 3rd Solution
1. State your third solution
E.g. Finally,…. OR Lastly….

2. Explain how your solution will work & how it relates to the problem – use the 3e’s explain, expand, example

V. Conclusion
1. Provides closure to your essay
E.g. As you can see there is a terrible problem of ___________________ in ____________________ today. OR It is clear….
In conclusion, the solution proposed here is one for the future.
To sum up, ...
The purpose/aim of this essay was to ...
The idea would/ would not bring an end to... However,

2. End with a “zinger” that makes the reader think or smile (e.g. compelling statement, readers personal connection, question for the reader to think about)
Until guns are completely banned, it is unlikely that...

Transitional Words and Phrases
Examples/Explanation: for instance, specifically, such as, to illustrate
Addition: furthermore, in addition, additionally, as well, moreover
Emphasis: most importantly, most important of all, indeed, in fact

The internet has transformed the way information is shared and consumed, but it has also created problems that did not exist before. What are the most serious problems associated with the internet and what solutions can you suggest?

The enormous growth in the use of the internet over the last decade has led to radical changes to the way that people consume and share information. Although serious problems have arisen as a result of this, there are solutions.

One of the first problems of the internet is the ease with which children can access potentially dangerous sites. For example, pornography sites are easily accessible to them because they can register with a site and claim to be an adult. There is no doubt that this affects their thoughts and development, which is a negative impact for the children and for society. Another major problem is the growth of online fraud and hacking. These days, there are constant news stories about government and company websites that have been hacked, resulting in sensitive information falling into the hands of criminals.

It is important that action is taken to combat these problems. Governments should ensure that adequate legislation and controls are in place that will prevent young people from accessing dangerous sites, such as requiring more than simply confirming that you are an adult to view a site.

Parents also have a part to play. They need to closely monitor the activities of their children and restrict their access to certain sites, which can now be done through various computer programs. Companies must also improve their onsite IT security systems to make fraud and hacking much more difficult by undertaking thorough reviews of their current systems for weaknesses.

To conclude, the internet is an amazing technological innovation that has transformed people’s lives, but not without negative impacts. However, with the right action by individuals, governments and businesses, it can be made a safe place for everyone. (285 words).


Global warming is one of the biggest threats humans face in the 21st Century and sea levels are continuing to rise at alarming rates. What problems are associated with this and what are some possible solutions.

Climate change is among the principal dangers facing people this century and ocean levels are increasing dramatically. This essay will first suggest that the biggest problem caused by this phenomenon is the flooding of homes and then submit building flood protection as the most viable solution, followed by a reasoned conclusion.

The foremost problem caused by sea levels creeping up is the flooding of peoples’ residences. Millions of people all over the world live in coastal areas and if the sea rises by even a few feet, they will be inundated with water and lose their property. Shelter is one of the most basic of human needs and widespread flooding would cause millions of people to become homeless, not to mention losing all of their possessions. The devastation brought about by this was clear for all to see during the 2011 Tsunami in Japan, in which millions of people were displaced.

A possible solution to this problem would be to build flood barriers. Flood defences, such as dikes, dams and floodgates, could be built along coasts and waterways, thereby stopping the water reaching populated areas. The Netherlands is one of the most populated areas in the world and also one of the most vulnerable to flooding and they have successfully employed various flood defence systems.

To conclude, stemming the rising tides caused by increasing global temperatures is one of the foremost challenges we face and it will ultimately lead to many of the worlds’ cities being left underwater, but a possible solution could be to utilise the flood prevention techniques already used by countries like Holland. It is predicted that more and more countries will be forced to take such measures to avoid a watery catastrophe. (298 words) 

Objective Proficiency p 157. Immigration. Extra Speaking

1. Is it feasible to stem the haemorrhage of people being displaced by armed conflict?
2. In what way does immigration positively contribute to the enhancement of a country?
3. Have any of your acquaintances gone to live in a foreign country? Why?
4. Do you know anyone who has come to live in Spain from another country? Why have they? Are they seeking asylum or are they economic migrants? Do these people have any problems about living away from home?
5. What would you miss about Spain if you went to live abroad?
6. What would be your expectations about living in a different country? What do you think immigrants hope to find when the come here?
7. What would be your worst fear or the greatest problem you might be faced with? Would you be concerned that you might be discriminated against? Why do you think discrimination exists? Have you experienced discrimination on a personal level? Do immigrants assimilate easily?
8. What are some things you could do to make your move easier? 
9. Do you think that measures to curb the number of migrants entering the EU should be put in place? When do you think immigrants should be deported? Do you feel sorry for those refugees who face deportation?
10. Should asylum seekers be granted a work permit?
11. Are detention centres necessary?

Discuss the pictures above and the quotation below and relate them to the topic of immigration.
"To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war"
-Winston Churchill-  
Do you agree with Churchill's quote? Do you think that launching an air campaign will make our country a more dangerous place? Do you believe a diplomatic campaign is feasible? Will military intervention make any difference? How can our politicians deal with the increasing number of insurgents in the West? Why is the refugee crisis all over the news? How is this related to Syria? Why should we care at all?

Useful language 

Picture A
refugee: /ˌrefjuˈdʒiː/ a person who has been forced to leave their country or home, because there is a war or for political, religious or social reasons. E.g. a steady flow of refugees from the war zone. Political/ economic refugees.  
A refugee camp.
Makeshift: /ˈmeɪkʃɪft/ used temporarily for a particular purpose because the real thing is not available. Provisional. A makeshift camp/ hospital.

Flock: to go or gather together somewhere in large numbers. E.g. + adv./prep. Thousands of people flocked to the beach this weekend. Hordes of refugees are flocking out of Syria everyday.
Horde: /hɔːd/ a large crowd of people. E.g. Hordes of tourists arrive in Italy every June. Millions of refugees are fleeing Syria in hordes.

Rubble: broken stones or bricks from a building or wall that has been destroyed or damaged. E.g. The bomb reduced the houses to rubble. In the aftermath of the air strikes there were piles of rubble everywhere. 
The war pushes them to leave. 

Picture B
Placard: /ˈplækɑːd/ a large written or printed notice that is put in a public place or carried on a stick in a march. E.g. The protesters gathered together in front of the embassy with placards that denounced the president's crimes. They were carrying placards and banners demanding that he resign.
It's always easier to stereotype and judge than it is to look beneath the surface and "see" the forest, not just the trees... Who would not walk through a dessert, cross an ocean or do whatever it took to feed their children? I'd crawl over glass if that's what it took. The laws of a nation need to be enforced (Sp. hacer cumplir), but we do not need to lose our compassion and empathy for people in a desperate situation in order to do so.
not see the forest/wood for the trees: to not see or understand the main point about something, because you are paying too much attention to small details.

Picture C
small boat. Sp. patera. The small rubber boat is packed.
dinghy: a small open boat. They bundle up (Sp. abrigar) their children and take the smugglers' rubber dinghies to Europe.   

Life jacket/ Life vest   

Lifebelt: a large ring made of material that floats well, that is used to rescue somebody who has fallen into water, to prevent them from drowning. 

Lifeboat Jet-ski: Sp. moto acuática. They are doing jet-skiing.  

Capsize (something): /kæpˈsaɪz/ if a boat capsizes or something capsizes it, it turns over in the water. E.g. The boat capsized and sank.
Shipwreck: the loss or destruction of a ship at sea because of a storm or because it hits rocks, etc. E.g. They narrowly escaped shipwreck in a storm in the North Sea. The shipwreck of the tanker has caused one of the worst oil spills in recent years.
be shipwrecked: to be left somewhere after the ship that you have been sailing in has been lost or destroyed at sea. E.g.  They were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa. A shipwrecked sailor.
castaway: a person whose ship has sunk (= who has been shipwrecked) and who has had to swim to a lonely place, usually an island
The refugees/ illegal immigrants have been rescued by the coast guards.
The boat might have been adrift for some days (Sp. a la deriva)
The coast guard ship took the boat in tow and brought it into the harbour.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Just think about how bad their life must have been. They are desperate. I do feel sorry for them.
Ellis Island in the New York Harbour was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. The Greek islands seem to be the gateway for Syrian refugees.
Immigrants typically face a difficult journey. Most of them have been ripped off by smugglers. They travel in cramped (Sp. apretado) rubber boats. They often experience overcrowding (Sp. masificación) and seasickness.
stowaway: /ˈstəʊəweɪ/ a person who hides in a ship or plane before it leaves, in order to travel without paying or being seen. Someone who stows away in a vehicle, ship, or plane. E.g. If someone is to survive as a stowaway then they have to get into an area of the plane that is pressurised and warm. He travelled as a stowaway on a freight ship at the age of fourteen. Authorities at the port and tunnel have stepped up efforts to thwart (frustrate) stowaways, making it harder for migrants to get through on their own.
stow away to hide in a ship, plane, etc. in order to travel secretly. E.g. At the age of 13 he had stowed away on a ship bound for Rio.

Question 1 stem something to stop something that is flowing from spreading or increasing. E.g. The cut was bandaged to stem the bleeding. They discussed ways of stemming the flow of smuggled drugs. 
haemorrhage: /ˈhemərɪdʒ/ haemorrhage (of somebody/something) a serious loss of people, money, etc. from a country, a group or an organization. E.g. Poor working conditions have led to a steady haemorrhage of qualified teachers from our schools.

displace somebody to force people to move away from their home to another place. E.g. Around 10,000 people have been displaced by the fighting. If the dam is built it will displace 100 000 people. 
Question 2

enhancement: /ɪnˈhɑːnsmənt/ the act of increasing or further improving the good quality, value or status of somebody/something. E.g. equipment for the enhancement of sound quality. Software enhancements. The devotion of the foreign workers to the enhancement of our country's economy is a fact that cannot be neglected.
enhance something : /ɪnˈhɑːns/ to increase or further improve the good quality, value or status of somebody/something. E.g. This is an opportunity to enhance the reputation of the company. Many of the immigrants bring new cultural practices with them, which also enhance our culture.

Question 4  

economic migrant: a person who moves from their own country to a new country in order to find work or have a better standard of living. E.g. They claimed they were political refugees and not economic migrants.  

asylum (also political asylum) [uncountable] protection that a government gives to people who have left their own country, usually because they were in danger for political reasons. E.g. to seek/apply for/be granted asylum. There was a nationwide debate on whether the asylum laws should be changed.  
All of these immigrants are looking for free land, freedom of worship, or adventure, or running away from oppressive governments.
Question 6  

Despite the hardships, immigrants hold on to their hopes.
They hope to find work and other people from their homelands. Life in Europe is often very different from life in their own country. Therefore, many immigrants move into neighbourhoods with other people of the same nationality. In these neighbourhoods they can hear their own language, eat familiar foods, and keep their customs.
Even with neighbourhood support, immigrants often find city life difficult. Many immigrants live in tenements (poorly built, overcrowded apartments). They often have to work under exhausting conditions.
Most of these immigrants have little money and know little Spanish. These factors force most of them to take low-paid unskilled industrial jobs. Many of these jobs are in the construction industry.
Longer hours are also common.
Although wages are relatively low, they are often higher than those that most immigrants can earn in their home countries.
Some immigrants work long hours for little pay in small shops or factories located in or near working-class neighbourhoods. These workplaces are called sweatshops because of the long hours and often unhealthy working conditions.

Question 7

migrate, migration, migrant

immigrate, immigration, immigrant

emigrate, emigration, emigrant  

assimilate, assimilation assimilate: to become, or allow somebody to become, a part of a country or community rather than remaining in a separate group. E.g. assimilate (into/to something) New arrivals find it hard to assimilate. Many new immigrants have not yet assimilated fully into the new culture. Assimilate somebody (into/to something) Immigrants have been successfully assimilated into the community. 

integrate, integration  

segregate, segregation  

ostracise, ostracism  

ostracise: ostracise somebody (formal) to refuse to let somebody be a member of a social group; to refuse to meet or talk to somebody. E.g. He was ostracised by his colleagues for refusing to support the strike. The regime risks being ostracised by the international community.  Some Muslim communities are becoming increasingly ostracised.

ostracism: the act of deliberately not including somebody in a group or activity; the state of not being included. E.g. With U.S. Ebola fear running high, African immigrants face ostracism. Anti-immigrant feelings have grown along with the rise in immigration. Some people fear that too many new immigrants are being allowed into the country. Some also hold racial and religious prejudices against immigrants.
Question 9

curb: /kɜːb/ curb something to control or limit something, especially something bad.  E.g. Measures to curb the number of migrants entering the UK from Calais have been put in place this week by the UK.  

put something in place: set up, establish E.g. the rules which we shall put in place in the months ahead meet these criteria.  

deport somebody to force somebody to leave a country, usually because they have broken the law or because they have no legal right to be there. E.g.  He was convicted of drug offences and deported. Many refugees were forcibly( /ˈfɔːsəbli/ using physical force) deported back to the countries they had come from.   

deportation: the act of forcing somebody to leave a country, usually because they have broken the law or because they have no legal right to be there. E.g. Several of the asylum seekers now face deportation.
Question 10 

asylum seeker: a person who has been forced to leave their own country because they are in danger and who arrives in another country asking to be allowed to stay there   

work permit: an official document that somebody needs in order to work in a particular foreign country.  
Many immigrants seek work and new lives in Europe.
Question 11  

detention centre: a place where people are kept in detention, especially people who have entered a country illegally. E.g. They are confined in a detention centre for asylum seekers, and forced to prove their refugee status.

air strike: an attack made by aircraft

Be opposed to/ in favour of air strikes. jingoist: /ˈdʒɪŋɡəʊɪst/ (disapproving) someone who ​believes that ​their own ​country is always ​best. E.g. He was a ​confirmed jingoist and would ​frequently ​speak about the ​dangers of ​Britain ​forming ​closer ​ties with the ​rest of ​Europe.  

jingoism: /ˈdʒɪŋɡəʊɪzəm/ (disapproving) a strong belief that your own country is best, especially when this is expressed in support of war with another country. E.g. Patriotism can ​turn into jingoism and ​intolerance very ​quickly.
jingoistic: /ˌdʒɪŋɡəʊˈɪstɪk/ (disapproving) adj. showing a strong belief that your own country is best, especially when this is expressed in support of war with another country. E.g. Can patriotism in the USA be too jingoistic?
Chauvinist: /ˈʃəʊvɪnɪst/ a person who has an aggressive and unreasonable belief that their own country is better than all others.

chauvinism: an aggressive and unreasonable belief that your own country is better than all others. E.g. It was a typical case of British chauvinism and insularity. National/cultural chauvinism. chauvinistic: showing an aggressive and unreasonable belief that your own country is better than all others. E.g. chauvinistic nationalism.  

Military action/intervention/ operations will/ won't make any difference

insurgent: a person fighting against the government or armed forces of their own country. rebel. E.g. an attack by armed insurgents.
radicalise: to make a person, group, or system more radical  

  the West: Europe, N America and Canada, contrasted with Eastern countries. E.g. I was born in Japan, but I've lived in the West for some years now.  

Good intelligence  

In the short/ long term, launching an air campaign will make our country a more dangerous place. Bombing alone won't do it. It is no guarantee of success.

If we draw an analogy with what happened in Iraq /with Al-Qaeda ...

ethnic cleansing: (used especially in news reports) the policy of forcing the people of a particular race or religion to leave an area or a country. E.g.  All the speakers at the conference condemned the so-called ‘ethnic cleansing’.
Civilian casualties
Collateral damage: the government denied that there had been any  

collateral damage (= injury to ordinary people or buildings) during the bombing raid. If bombs go stray and a hospital/school is hit they call it collateral damage.

Question: Why is the refugee crisis all over the news? How is this related to Syria? Why should we care at all? 
Sample answer:
In the summer of 2015, Europe experienced the highest influx of refugees since the Second World War. The main reason is that Syria has become the world’s top source of refugees.
Syria is located in the Middle East, an ancient fertile land settled for at least 10,000 years. Since the 1960s, it’s been led by the al-Assad family, who have ruled it as quasi-dictators until the Arab Spring happened in 2011, a revolutionary wave of protests and conflicts in the Arab world that toppled many authoritarian regimes. But the Assads refused to step down and started a brutal civil war. Different ethnicities and religious groups fought each other in changing coalitions. ISIS, a militaristic jihadist group, used the opportunity and entered the chaos with the goal to build a totalitarian Islamic caliphate.
Very quickly, it became one of the most violent and successful extremist organizations on Earth. All sides committed horrible war crimes, using chemical weapons, mass executions, torture on a large scale, and repeated deadly attacks on civilians. The Syrian population was trapped between the regime, rebel groups, and the religious extremists. A third of the Syrian people have been displaced within Syria, while over four million have fled the country. The vast majority of them reside now in camps in the neighbouring countries, who are taking care of 95% of the refugees, while the Arab states of the Persian Gulf together have accepted zero Syrian refugees, which has been called especially shameful by Amnesty International. The UN and the World Food Program were not prepared for a refugee crisis on this scale. As a result, many refugee camps are crowded and under-supplied, subjecting people to cold, hunger, and disease.
The Syrians lost hope that their situation will be getting better any time soon, so many decided to seek asylum in Europe. Between 2007 and 2014, the European Union had invested about €2 billion in defences, high-tech security technology, and border patrols,but not a lot in preparation for an influx of refugees. So it was badly prepared for the storm of asylum seekers. In the EU, a refugee has to stay in the state they arrived in first, which put enormous pressure on the border states that were already in trouble. Greece, in the midst of an economic crisis on the scale of the Great Depression, was not able to take care of so many people at once, leading to terrible scenes of desperate, hungry people on islands usually reserved for tourists.
The world needed to come together and act as a united front, but, instead, it has become more divided. Many states downright refused to take in any refugees, leaving the border states alone in their struggle.
In 2014, the UK lobbied to stop a huge search-and-rescue operation called Mare Nostrum that was designed to stop asylum seekers from drowning in the Mediterranean. The idea seems to have been that a higher death toll on the sea would mean fewer asylum seekers trying to make the journey. But, of course, in reality, that’s not what happened.
The perception of the crisis around the world suddenly changed when photos circulated of a dead boy from Syria found lying face down on a beach in Turkey. Germany announced that it will, without exception, accept all Syrian refugees, and is now preparing to take in 800,000 people in 2015, more than the entire EU took in 2014, only to impose temporary border controls a few days later and demand an EU-wide solution.
All over the West, more and more people are beginning to take action, although support for asylum seekers has mostly come from citizens, not from politicians. But there are fears in the Western world: Islam, high birth rates, crime, and the collapse of the social systems. Let’s acknowledge this and look at the facts.
Even if the EU alone were to accept all four million Syrian refugees and 100% of them were Muslims, the percentage of Muslims in the European Union would only rise from about 4% to about 5%. This is not a drastic change and will certainly not make it a Muslim continent. A Muslim minority is neither new nor reason to be afraid. Birth rates in many parts of the Western world are low, so some fear asylum seekers might overtake the native population in a few decades.
Studies have shown that even though birth rates are higher among Muslims in Europe, they drop and adjust as the standard of living and level of education rises. Most Syrian refugees already are educated, the birth rate in Syria before the civil war was not very high, and the population was actually shrinking, not growing.
The fear that refugees lead to higher crime rates also turns out to be wrong. Refugees who become immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than the native population. When allowed to work, they tend to start businesses and integrate themselves into the workforce as fast as possible, paying more into the social systems than they extract from them. Syrians coming to the West are potential professional workers, desperately needed to sustain Europe’s ageing population.
Refugees’ travelling with smart phones has led to the misconception that they’re not really in need of help. Social media and the internet have become a vital part of being a refugee. GPS is used to navigate the long routes to Europe; Facebook groups give tips and information about obstacles in real time. This only proves that these people are like us: if you had to make a dangerous journey, would you leave your phone behind?
The European Union is the wealthiest bunch of economies on Earth, well-organized states with functioning social systems, infrastructure, democracy, and huge industries. It can handle the challenge of the refugee crisis if it wants to. The same can be said for the whole Western world. But while tiny Jordan has taken in over 600,000 Syrian refugees, the UK, which has 78 times the GDP of Jordan, has only said it will allow 20,000 Syrians across its borders over the next five years. The US has agreed to accept 10,000, Australia 12,000 people.
Overall, things are slowly getting better, but not fast enough.
We are writing history right now. How do we want to be remembered? As xenophobic rich cowards behind fences?
We have to realize that these people fleeing death and destruction are no different from us. By accepting them into our countries and integrating them into our societies, we have much to gain. There is only something to be lost if we ignore this crisis. More dead children are sure to wash ashore if we don’t act with humanity and reason.
Let’s do this right and try to be the best we possibly can be.