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Nesta semana, vemos o que está acontecendo no Brasil com o coronavírus e a vacinação, as mudanças e leis aprovadas por Vladimir Putin na Rússia e o aumento da população de rinocerontes no Nepal.
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Este episódio foi escrito por Lívia Pond.
What is up, everyone! Welcome back to Fluency News, the news podcast from Fluency Academy. I’m Scott Lowe, one of your English teachers and host! It’s awesome you decided to join me to improve your listening and comprehension skills.
In this week’s episode we’re going to see what’s been happening in Brazil with COVID and vaccines, we’re going to take a look at the changes Vladimir Putin has been making, and we’re going to have some good news at the end, as always.
You can check out the sources to all of our stories in the description of this episode. You can also go to fluencytv.com to read the transcript of this episode, and to have access to over a thousand lessons in five different languages. And, as you know, all of that is free, so don’t sleep on it and go check it out!
Alright, let’s jump into it.
On Monday, April 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law allowing him to potentially hold on to power until 2036.
Putin proposed the change last year as part of constitutional reforms that Russians overwhelmingly backed in a vote in July.
The 68-year-old Russian president, who has been in power for more than two decades — longer than any other Kremlin leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin — said he would decide later whether to run again in 2024 when his current six-year term ends.
He has argued that resetting the term count was necessary to keep his lieutenants focused on their work instead of “darting their eyes in search for possible successors.”
The constitutional amendments also emphasized the primacy of Russian law over international norms, outlawed same-sex marriages and mentioned “a belief in God” as a core value.
The homophobic and transphobic amendments were passed last July in a national referendum, with over 77 percent of voters casting their ballots supporting the measures.
The amendments passed by voters and signed into law by Putin specifically ban marriage equality and adoption by transgender folks. The amendments were highly popular with the socially conservative Russian populace. Religious themes play an important role in society in the nation and often drive anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments.
“Hold on” é um phrasal verb muito utilizado em inglês. Phrasal verb é a junção entre um verbo e uma preposição que tem um significado diferente do verbo isoladamente. É como se o verbo mudasse de sentido por causa da preposião. “Hold”, por exemplo, pode ser traduzido para “segurar”. Mas se adicionarmos a preposição “on”, o signigicado pode ser “aguentar”, “persistir”, “manter-se firme”.
Now let’s talk about Brazil and COVID.
The number of COVID-19 patients under 40 in intensive care in Brazil surpassed older groups last month, a researcher said Sunday, April 11, amid a deadly surge driven partly by a new coronavirus variant.
The number of people aged 39 or younger in intensive care units with COVID-19 in March rose sharply to more than 11,000, or 52.2 percent of the total, said the Brazilian ICU Project.
"Previously, this was a population that would typically only develop a less-severe form of the disease and would not need intensive care. So the increase for this age group is very significant," said Dr. Ederlon Rezende, co-coordinator of the project, an initiative of the Brazilian Association of Intensive Medicine (AMIB).
He said various factors could be driving the increase.
Patients over 80, who fell from 13.6 percent to 7.8 percent of the total in Brazil's ICUs in March, are now largely vaccinated.
Young people are also more likely to expose themselves to the virus, whether because they have to leave home to work or believe they are less vulnerable, he said.
Another factor may be the new Brazilian variant, known as P1, which experts say is partly responsible for the country's COVID-19 death toll exploding in March.
The numbers suggest that P1, which can re-infect people who have had the original strain of the virus, may also be more virulent, Rezende said.
"The patients arriving in ICUs now are younger, have no pre-existing conditions and are developing more severe cases of the virus, too," he told AFP.
A brutal new wave of COVID-19 in recent weeks has pushed the official toll since the pandemic began to more than 13.5 million cases and over 354,000 deaths, according to Health Ministry figures released on Monday, April 12.
On April 6, as the South American nation reported a single day record of almost 4,200 Covid-deaths, members of the Brazilian congress backed a bill that would enable companies to purchase vaccines from individual suppliers and offer them to their employees, even before health officials and at-risk groups had received their first dose.
The lower house of Congress passed a bill that would allow corporations to directly purchase vaccine doses from international suppliers and give them to employees, even before priority groups like the elderly and medical workers are fully vaccinated. “We are at war,” the leader of the chamber, Arthur Lira, argued, “and in war, anything goes to save lives.”
The bill was the latest in a series of efforts to chip away at the primacy of Brazil’s public system for distributing vaccines. The Brazilian public system is widely considered to be one of the most effective vaccine programs in the world, but failed to rise to the occasion under Bolsonaro’s leadership.
“Brazil’s vaccination campaigns are world renowned,” said Mellanie Fontes-Dutra, a biomedical scientist and researcher at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul who also works with the Covid-19 Analyst Network. “In this moment of crisis, we need ample, free, and universal access to Covid-19 vaccines.”
While private buyers will have a difficult time finding vaccine suppliers, corporations are setting themselves up to skip the line once doses do become available. Fontes-Dutra said the criteria for vaccination should be determined by public health authorities “and not by monetary power.”
The Lira-backed bill would let companies skip the requirement to donate their full purchases during the priority vaccination stage, when groups like the elderly and medical workers are supposed to be the focus. Instead, the companies are required to donate half their supply, but can also immediately begin vaccinating employees.
Lira and his allies also sought to use public means to defray the costs of vaccines for private companies. The initial draft bill provided a full tax write-off for the costs of vaccination, but the provision was quickly removed after objections from left and center-left opposition, who characterized the proposal as the public footing the bill for VIP vaccinations.
“Vaccines should be a public good. Opening up the possibility of private sector purchases may be another aggravating factor for inequalities in the country,” said Alessandro Molon, leader of the opposition in the lower house of Congress. “No country in the world has allowed this. Why should Brazil do this?”
Health officials expressed outrage that members of the lower house of congress were wasting time and energy disputing over requirements for corporations to purchase and distribute vaccines despite overflowing intensive care units in several states across the country on the brink of collapse.
‘The rich think they can buy what they want, even lives’, a source said.
Public health experts blame President Jair Bolsonaro for refusing to enact strict measures to halt infections and for clashing with governors and mayors who did.
Failure to control the spread has been compounded by the Health Ministry betting big on a single vaccine, AstraZeneca then buying only one backup, the Chinese-manufactured CoronaVac, after supply problems emerged. Authorities ignored other producers and squandered opportunities until it was too late to get large quantities of vaccine for the first half of 2021.
With extensive experience in successful, massive vaccination programs, Brazil should have known better, said Claudio Maierovitch, former head of Brazil’s health regulator.
“The big problem is that Brazil did not look for alternatives when it had the chance,” he said. “When several countries were placing their bets, signing contracts with different suppliers, the Brazilian government didn’t even have vaccination on its agenda.”
A palavra “agenda” tem usos e significados diferentes em português e em inglês. Ela não é bem um falso cognato, mas o uso mais comum da palavra é diferente. Em português, “agenda” é normalmente um objeto para marcar eventos. Um caderno com calendário e páginas diárias para compromissos. Apesar de poder ter esse significado em inglês, é mais comum que esses objetos sejam descritos como “schedule”, “planner” ou “appointment book”. Em inglês, o uso mais comum da palavra agenda é “o assunto do dia”. É o que está em pauta. Quando dizemos que “the Brazilian government didn’t even have the vaccination on its agenda”, estamos dizendo que a vacinação não estava na pauta do governo brasileiro, que não era um assunto importante.
Alright, let’s see some good news, shall we?
Nepal’s rhino population has shown a promising 16% increase as indicated by the results of the National Rhino Count 2021 released by the Government of Nepal. The current population of the species stands at 752 individuals.
The National Rhino Count 2021 began on March and ended on April 10, covering areas within the country, in national parks, buffer zones and non-protected.
The count was led by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, mobilizing over 57 elephants and 350 technicians and trained personnel. Numbers are documented based on headcount, and population estimates are based on information collected, such as sex, age group and unique identifying features. During the counting process, data on habitat conditions, invasive species in the area, and human activities are also collected.
“The overall growth in population size is indicative of ongoing protection and habitat management efforts by protected area authorities despite challenging contexts these past years,” stated Ghana Gurung, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “This achievement is yet another milestone in Nepal’s conservation journey showcasing the impact of concerted efforts of all stakeholders and providing much needed impetus to the global conservation fraternity.”
Every five years, Nepal takes up the immense task of counting its rhinos to monitor their status in the wild. The rhino count guides the nation’s rhino conservation strategy and helps assess the effectiveness of the programs.
Rhinos are still dangerously close to extinction, but the conservation plans seem to be helping.
Os verbos irregulares são aqueles que não seguem um padrão quando mudam de tempo verbal. Para verbos regulares, o passado e o particípio do passado podem ser formados por simplesmente adicionar -ED ao final da forma infinitiva. Os irregulares se transformam, e por isso, precisam ser decorados individualmente. Com o contato frequente com o idioma, é possível memorizar todas as formas dos verbos mais usados, sem necessidade de decorar uma lista. Nessa história, nós temos alguns exemplos de verbos regulares e irregulares. O verbo “lead”, no passado, se torna “led”. O verbo “be”, aqui, se torna “was”. “Begin” vira “began”, e “have”, “had”. Você não precisa de uma lista para se lembrar dessas formas, o contato diário com o idioma vai fazer com que você se lembre sem nem perceber. É por isso que você deve escutar esses episódios toda semana. Aproveite para visitar fluencytv.com para ter acesso à mais conteúdo gratuito, e aumentar o seu contato com o inglês!
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And that is it for this week’s episode, folks. There’s a new episode of Fluency News every single week, so don’t miss out! This podcast is a perfect way to put your skills to the test while remaining an informed citizen of the world.
Don’t forget to check out fluencytv.com for more free content, the transcript of this episode and all of our sources. Peace out.
Brazil now has more young than old COVID patients in ICUs
‘The rich think they can buy what they want, even lives’: Anger over Brazil’s vaccination plan as Covid rages
Vladimir Putin Just Officially Banned Same-Sex Marriage In Russia
Rhino Numbers on the Rise: 16% increase in Nepal’s rhino numbers
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