Fluency News #62

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Hello, everyone!

Sejam bem-vindos e bem-vindas a mais um episódio da nossa série de podcasts, o Fluency News! Aqui, você vai treinar a sua escuta e ficar por dentro do que está acontecendo no mundo com algumas das principais notícias da semana, tudo em inglês! Ao longo do episódio, nós também adicionamos explicações em português das coisas que achamos que precisam de mais atenção, assim você não perde nenhum detalhe! 

No episódio desta semana, nós falamos sobre o risco global da nova variante omicron e de como a cidade de Nova Iorque está lidando com isso; falamos sobre Barbados, que acaba de se tornar uma república; damos uma olhada na história de Magdalena Andersson, a primeira primeira-ministra mulher na Suécia; vemos um ponto negativo da indústria da moda e descobrimos que rinocerontes podem voar. 

Nós temos uma página de dicas de inglês no Instagram, vá conferir! @fluencytvingles

Toda semana temos um novo episódio do Fluency News, não deixe de escutar! See you!

Este episódio foi escrito por Alessandro Ladelfa. 

Episode Transcript

Hello, squad! Welcome to another episode of Fluency News. I’m teacher Thalita Uba, and I’m thrilled to have you with me. Together, we’ll see some of this week’s most relevant news, and, if necessary, have some explanations in Portuguese.

Before we get started, I’ve got something to remind you: 

I’d like you all to go to fluencytv.com. There, you’ll find the transcript of this episode, all of our sources, and free lessons in all the languages Fluency Academy teaches – which are English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese and Mandarin! So, head over to fluencytv.com to get all that good and free stuff. 

Now, without further ado, let’s get started:

The World Health Organization warns omicron poses 'very high' global risk as variant spreads

The global risk of the new omicron variant is “very high,” the World Health Organization said Monday, 29th, as more countries reported cases of the variant, sparking worldwide concern that there is more pandemic suffering ahead. 

Despite the global alarm there is still little understanding about the variant and how virulent it may be. Scientists have cautioned that it’s still unclear whether omicron is more dangerous than other versions of a virus that has killed more than 5 million people worldwide.

The U.N. agency urged to accelerate Covid-19 vaccination coverage “as rapidly as possible,” particularly among high-priority groups.

The new variant was first detected in southern Africa last week, and has now been detected in countries around the world, like the U.K., the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Israel and Hong Kong, among other countries.

Health officials in Portugal said the country has detected 13 cases among team members of a professional soccer club, according to The Associated Press. One of those who tested positive at the Lisbon-based Belenenses soccer club had recently traveled to South Africa.

The extent of the actual spread of the omicron variant around the world, however, still remains unclear as countries discover new cases each day. The U.S. has yet to identify any cases. Dr. Kavita Patel, NBC News’ medical contributor, said: “It’s already here. We know from previous variants that by the time we pick it up in Africa and the European Union, it’s already here.” 

The U.S. has restricted travel from South Africa and seven neighboring countries. Health experts and world leaders are urging populations to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Global vaccination rates remain uneven, with citizens of some wealthy industrialized countries already being offered booster shots, while lack of access means other nations are struggling to inoculate their populations. Low-income countries, most of them in Africa, have received just 0.6 percent of all vaccines.

A palavra uneven presente na notícia, que significa desigual, é formada pela adição do prefixo UN antes de EVEN para transformar essa palavra em negativa – even, igual, uneven, desigual. Em inglês, podemos usar o prefixo un- para dar a ideia contrária a uma palavra (happy, feliz, unhappy, infeliz). Além do un-, existem outros prefixos que exercem essa mesma função e eles variam dependendo de como as palavras começam. Alguns exemplos são: para as palavras que começam com as letras m ou p, usamos o prefixo im (mature, maduro, immature, imaturo; polite, educado, impolite, mal educado). Já para as palavras que começam com r, usamos o prefixo ir (relevant, relevante, irrelevant, irrelevante). A palavra uneven foi usada na notícia para dizer que a taxa de vacinação contra a COVID-19 continua mundialmente desigual, “global vaccination rates remain uneven”.

Now, let’s see how the USA is handling this new variant.

New York City on Monday, 29th issued an advisory strongly recommending that everyone wear masks indoors at all times regardless of vaccination status, amid concern about the new, highly mutated strain of the coronavirus.

Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said New York City has not identified any cases of omicron so far. They both emphasized that vaccination remains the most crucial tool available to fight Covid-19.

De Blasio also said that their “entire focus once again is going to be on vaccination. Based on everything we know, vaccination is crucial to any strategy for addressing omicron.” The mayor encouraged parents to vaccinate their children aged 5 to 11 years old. He also called on New Yorkers to get their booster shots as soon as possible.

New York City’s vaccination rate is comparatively high, with 88% of adults in the city having received at least one dose. However, just 16% of kids 5 to 11 have received one shot. The city has administered more than 943,000 booster shots so far.

Covid infections are rising in New York City, with about 1,400 new cases a day on average, according to the city’s health department.

Quando estamos falando de verbos, de forma geral, cada um deve ser seguido por uma preposição específica. Isso é o que nós chamamos de "collocations", é saber qual a preposição certa a se usar depois de um verbo. Nessa notícia, por exemplo, vimos que o verbo focus que é seguido pela preposição on. Ent ão, pra dizer que focamos em alguma coisa, nós falamos focus on something. Outro verbo que também aparece na notícia é o base, que também é seguido por on. Pra falar “baseado em”, portanto, nós dizemos "based on", como os filmes baseados em fatos reais, based on true events. Um outro exemplo de collocation poderia ser o verbo dream, que é seguido da preposição about. Então se você sonha com alguma coisa, você dream about something. É sempre importante saber quais são as preposições corretas a se usar após os verbos.

Changing the topic a little, let’s take a look at Barbados that has just become a republic.

Almost 400 years after the first English ship arrived on its golden shores, the former British colony of Barbados woke up last Tuesday as a republic. It comes 55 years to the day since Barbados gained full independence but kept the monarch in the ceremonial role. 

The tiny Caribbean nation will remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state in a ceremony that will begin late Monday, breaking its ties with the British royal family — and with it, one of the island’s last remaining imperial bonds to the United Kingdom. 

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne who is expected to give a speech saying much of the relationship between the two nations will remain the same, will be in attendance as Barbados celebrates ending its formal links with his 95-year-old mother.  

“It is a monumental step,” Kristina Hinds, a senior lecturer in political science at the University of the West Indies in eastern Barbados, said on a Zoom call from her home in Wanstead, north of the capital, Bridgetown. “I think it is part of the evolution of our independence, and it is certainly long overdue.”

The island’s present day population of about 287,000 is comprised mostly of the descendants of people brought over as slaves from Africa to work in the plantations. And despite this history, there remains a level of respect for the monarchy and Britain in general, especially among the island’s older population.

But to Hinds, “It’s problematic for those among us who believe that the British monarchy is as important as it has been for Barbados historically in positive ways, because it has also caused serious harm to the country,” she said.

René Holder-McClean-Ramirez, 45, an LGBTQ community advocate and consultant, said that “for Barbadians, this is not something personal against the queen, it is about our national pride and governance. As we grow and develop as an independent nation, having a foreign head of state is just not necessary or practical”.

A notícia fala que o príncipe Charles é o herdeiro do trono real. A palavra herdeiro, em inglês, é heir H-E-I-R, mas esse h não é pronunciado! Em inglês, de forma geral, temos dois tipos de som de h: os que são pronunciados, como hair “cabelo” e os que não são pronunciados, como é o exemplo de heir. Outras palavras que têm o h na escrita, mas que ele não é pronunciado são: honor, honest, hour, and honors. 

Now, let’s talk about  the first female Prime Minister in Sweden.

Magdalena Andersson was first chosen to be prime minister last week, but she quit the same day after her proposed budget was defeated and the coalition government she hoped to lead broke down.

Yet now Swedish lawmakers have again elected Andersson to the role of prime minister – days after she resigned from the post – and she is set once more to become the first female leader in the country's history.

Andersson was appointed through a razor-thin vote in Sweden's divided Parliament. While 101 Members of Parliament voted for her, 173 voted against, and 75 abstained. Under the country's rules, a new prime minister can be elected as long as a majority of lawmakers do not vote against them.

Andersson has served as Sweden's finance minister since 2014. She previously worked as deputy director-general of the Swedish Tax Agency. And her position will once again be an uncomfortable one, given Sweden's fragmented political landscape. 

Andersson's Social Democrats hold 100 seats in the 349-seat Parliament, meaning the party will still have to rely on support of other parties to pass legislation.

Você sabe falar de quando a diferença entre duas coisas é super pequena, geralmente relacionado à contagem de votos em inglês? Bem, usamos razor-thin para dar essa ideia, como em “the president won the election by a razor-thin margin” que significa “o presidente ganhou a eleição por uma margem muito pequena”. Na notícia, Magdalena Andersson ganhou a eleição para ser a primeira ministra com uma pequena diferença nos votos, por isso a notícia usa razor-thin na frase “Andersson was appointed through a razor-thin vote”. 

Right away, let’s talk about fashion. But wait up, it’s not gonna be in a positive way. 

New study links major fashion brands to Amazon deforestation

The report, released Monday, analyzed nearly 500,000 rows of customs data and found that brands such as Coach, LVMH, Prada, H&M, Zara, Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Teva, UGG and Fendi have multiple connections to an industry that props up Amazon deforestation.

More than 50 brands have multiple supply-chain links to the largest Brazilian leather exporter, JBS, which is known to engage in Amazon deforestation.

New research into the fashion industry’s complex global supply chains shows that a number of large fashion brands are at risk of contributing to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, based on their connections to tanneries and other companies involved in the production of leather and leather goods.

The study was conducted by Stand.earth, a supply chain research firm. The findings are surprising, in part because a number of the brands surveyed have recently announced policies to untangle themselves from contributing to deforestation.

Sônia Guajajara, executive coordinator of the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance (APIB), said brands have “the moral responsibility, the influence and the economic resources to stop working with suppliers contributing to deforestation in the Amazon today, not in 10 years, not in 2025”.

With lab-grown alternatives on the rise, a future where your favorite bag or sneakers don’t come at the expense of the Amazon rainforest is possible. 

“At the end of the day, we have to find other solutions and other alternative leathers that are not animal-based and that are not plastic-based,” and “with the resources that fashion companies have, there’s really no excuse” said Céline Semaan, chief executive and co-founder of Slow Factory,

Você sabe a diferença entre do verbo stop seguido por ing e do verbo stop seguido por to? Bem, em linhas gerais, stop seguido por um verbo no ing significa parar de (como em you should stop drinking so much coffee que significa “você deveria parar de tomar tanto café''). Já stop seguido por to significa parar para (como em I’ll stop the car to call you que significa “eu vou parar o carro para te ligar''). No notícia, Sônia Guajajara diz que as marcas têm recursos econômicos para parar de trabalhar com fornecedores que contribuem para o desmatamento na Amazônia, em inglês, brands have the moral responsibility, the influence and the economic resources to stop working with suppliers contributing to deforestation in the Amazon.

The last story we’re seeing today is about rhinos flying. Have you ever seen this before?

Well, white rhinos flew from South Africa to Rwanda, east Africa, in the largest single translocation. In a bid to secure the future of the near threatened species, 30 animals have been driven, flown and finally rehomed in Akagera national park.

The 30 white rhinos arrived at their new home, Akagera national park in eastern Rwanda, on Sunday, 28th. Jes Gruner, of conservation organisation African Parks, who oversaw the largest single rhino translocation in history this weekend, said that “all the rhinos were slightly sedated to keep them calm and not aggressive or trying to get out of the crates.

“The rhinos weren’t sedated on the plane in the sense they were totally lying down, as that’s bad for their sternums. But they were partly drugged, so they could still stand up and keep their bodily functions normal, but enough to keep them calm and stable.”

The 19 female and 11 male rhinos  – a mix of adults and subadults – were driven from Phinda private game reserve in South Africa’s Munyawana conservancy, flown from Durban to Kigali, then transported by road to Akagera, completing a 40-hour journey of more than 3,400km. 

“Akagera is the right spot,” said Gruner, explaining the choice of location. “There’s plenty of habitat around the continent, but not necessarily safe habitat. The government of Rwanda has shown their seriousness in conservation and protection in the last 15 to 20 years." 

Gruner said: “We look forward to the day when we'll have some white rhino calves in Rwanda – ‘first generation’ Rwandan white rhinos. The day they start multiplying in number, we'll know this has been a successful project.”

And this is the end of this week’s episode. We will, of course, be back soon with more relevant stories and with updates to anything we’ve covered before. 

E se você tem interesse em estudar na Fluency Academy, com os melhores experts em fluência de idiomas do mundo, você pode se inscrever na nossa lista de espera! Desse jeito, você vai ficar sabendo assim que abrirem novas turmas de inglês, espanhol, francês, italiano, alemão, japonês e mandarim. Pra não ficar de fora, aperte o link na descrição desse episódio! A inscrição é 100% gratuita e leva uns 15 segundinhos.

I hope you all enjoyed getting to know a little bit about what’s going on around the world with me.

Don’t forget, there’s a new episode of Fluency News every week. 

Until next time!


WHO warns omicron poses 'very high' global risk as variant spreads
NYC reinstitutes Covid mask advisory ‘at all times’ indoors regardless of vaccination status
Barbados to cut ties with Queen Elizabeth II, become a republic in a grand ceremony
Sweden's lawmakers elect the country's first female Prime Minister -- again
New study links major fashion brands to Amazon deforestation
White rhinos flown from South Africa to Rwanda in largest single translocation

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Hey guys! Eu sou a Becca, teacher de inglês na Fluency Academy!
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Hey guys! Eu sou a Becca, teacher de inglês na Fluency Academy!
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