Thursday, March 31, 2011

Record Numbers of Visitors at DC's Cherry Blossom Festival

VOAVideo: Record Numbers of Visitors at DC's Cherry Blossom Festival

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a spring time staple in Washington DC. The two-week event is centered on the Tidal Basin, an inlet alongside the Potomac River. It draws more than a million visitors each year and reflects the long-standing friendship between the US and Japan. The trees were donated to Washington by the Mayor of Tokyo in 1912. In light of the crisis after the recent earthquake and tsunami, this year some visitors have Japan on their mind more than ever before. VOA's June Soh has the story.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Schoolchildren Make 1,000 Paper Cranes on Behalf of Japan Victims

VOAVideo: Schoolchildren Make 1,000 Paper Cranes on Behalf of Japan Victims

Among the worldwide efforts to help the people of Japan following the recent earthquake and tsunami are school children who are reaching out in various ways. VOA's Bernard Shusman visited one school in the United States that is trying to help, and teach its children empathy for the victims in Japan at the same time.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Studying How Plastic Pollution Enters Ocean Food Supply

VOA Learning English Video: Studying How Plastic Pollution Enters Ocean Food Supply

Marcus Eriksen is not really fishing. He is catching plastic in the Atlantic Ocean. Eriksen wants to publicize the growing buildup of plastic waste in our oceans and to study its effects.

Anna Cummins and her husband Marcus Eriksen set up a not-for-profit group called the 5 Gyres Institute. It helps researchers with studies of plastic pollution in the oceans. Cummins says plastic bags and bottles have little or no value after they are used. Most plastic waste can be found in solid-waste landfills or along rivers. A lot of this waste also washes out to sea.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New US Citizen: Sardar Habibi

Today Mr. Habibi is absent from class becase he is attending his Oath Ceremony! Here is a quick description of an Oath Ceremony for US Citizenship.

On April 23, 2009 there were three Oath Ceremonies at the Campbell Heritage theater (10am, 1pm, 3pm). The tweets are time-stamped so that new citizens and their families can know what to expect during the Oath Ceremony.

  • 3:03 PM waiting for the 3pm Oath Ceremony to begin
  • 3:11 PM the pre-ceremony has begun. They are talking about voting.
  • 3:15 PM they are talking about registering to vote in Vietnamese
  • 3:22 PM the Tagog rep from the Registar of Voters just finished speaking
  • 3:23 PM Tagalog--not "Tagog"
  • 3:24 PM the Spanish rep just finished (was she from Argentina?)
  • 3:27 PM The Mandarin (not Cantonese) rep is exorting us to vote in Eng & Mandarin
  • 3:28 PM The Santa Clara County Registar of Voters is showing a slide show about the voter reg form
  • 3:31 PM reg form: personal info, politic party, language, absentee ballot are being explained
  • 3:33 PM Remember: always exercise you right to vote.
  • 3:34 PM film about the history of immigration begins
  • 3:34 PM Ellis Island looks grim and hopeful
  • 3:35 PM Vietnamese refugee camp
  • 3:36 PM old photos and new photos are made equal in black and white
  • 3:37 PM the Statue of Libery is in glorious color
  • 3:38 PM film ends. local USCIS supervisor speaks
  • 3:39 PM Angela Tirado leads the Star Spangled Banner
  • 3:41 PM people cheer!
  • 3:43 PM USCIS field director: we come from 55 different countries; we go out the door as 1 country
  • 3:44 PM America: melting pot or stew pot?
  • 3:45 PM Roll Call of Nation begins!
  • 3:45 PM Afghanistan!
  • 3:46 PM China!
  • 3:46 PM India! Iran! Iraq!
  • 3:47 PM Mexico!
  • 3:48 PM VIETNAM!
  • 3:50 PM So help me God!
  • 3:51 PM Congrats! Cheer! Clap! Wave flags!
  • 3:52 PM Welcome!
  • 3:52 PM The essence of a democracy is an engaged citizentry
  • 3:53 PM with liberty and justice for all!
  • 3:55 PM Thank yous...
  • 3:55 PM My fellow citizens...sounds good, eh?
  • 3:56 PM Closing remarks: contact Social Security about your change of status
  • 3:58 PM The director shows his grandfather's naturalization papers, SF 1944
  • 4:01 PM (I am tearing up)
  • 4:02 PM guests leave. new citizens receive certificates
  • 4:02 PM GOD BLESS THE USA!!!
  • 4:03 PM I am going to look for my former students--later!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Comparing American and Chinese Parents

VOA Learning English Video: Comparing American and Chinese ParentsSome American parents might think their children need better educations to compete with China and other countries. But how much do the parents themselves need to change? A new book called "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua has caused a debate about cultural differences in parenting.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pills or candy?

Pills or candy?


    • California Poison Control About theCalifornia Poison Control SystemA single toll-free 800 number is available to all areas of California.
    • By calling 1-800-222-1222 anywhere in California, you can obtain emergency information on:
    • Swallowing poison
    • Eye or skin irritation from toxic substances
    • Inhalation of noxious fumes or vapors
    • Animal, insect, snake and spider bites
    • Food or mushroom poisoning
    • Drug reactions
    • Attempted suicides or drug overdoses
    • Pet poisoning exposures

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Are People Who Speak More Than One Language Smarter?

    VOANews: Are People Who Speak More Than One Language Smarter?

    Not necessarily, but new studies show that bilingual speakers might be better at an important skill HEALTH REPORT (download mp3)

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    CULTURE EL Civics Objective Wins!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

    Japanese Tsunami Survivors Face Daily Struggle

    VOAVdeo: Japanese Tsunami Survivors Face Daily Struggle
    Amid the desperate attempts by rescue teams to find anyone alive in the wreckage left by the Japan tsunami, survivors of the disaster are struggling to get by. Close to half a million people are estimated to be living in shelters, most sleeping on the cold floors of school gymnasiums. The very old and the very young are the most at risk.

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    China focuses on controlling inflation, corruption

    VOAVideo: China focuses on controlling inflation, corruption

    China's annual legislative session ends with one eye on inflation and approval for the overall blueprint that will guide the country for the next five years. Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Woman, 70, found alive 4 days after Japan tsunami Woman, 70, found alive 4 days after Japan tsunami

    Though much news is grim, one resilient woman survived four days inside her house after it was swept away by waves. (read more)

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Battle To Prevent Nuclear Meltdown After Japan Quake

    VOAVideo: Battle To Prevent Nuclear Meltdown After Japan Quake

    Workers at a nuclear plant in Japan are battling to prevent a meltdown in one of the reactors, following the massive earthquake that struck the north-east part of the country on Friday. The latest government figures figures put the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami at just under 2,000 - but that's likely to increase dramatically n the coming days. Henry Ridgwell reports from Tokyo.

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    US City Dwellers Look to Grow Their Own Food

    VOAVideo: US City Dwellers Look to Grow Their Own Food

    As more Americans try to adopt healthy lifestyles and environmentally friendly practices, the idea of growing their own food has become increasingly popular among city dwellers. That interest was evident at a recent urban gardening forum in Washington, D.C. Dozens of organizations and hundreds of residents got together to advance the local food movement.

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Backyard Birdcount

    VOAVideo: Backyard Birdcount The Northern Hemisphere is beginning to show signs of spring. But since the timing of the season can change from year to year, and region to region - tens of thousands of citizen scientists are helping researchers keep track of its arrival with a fairly simple, and fun, technique. VOA's Rebecca Ward reports on Cornell University's Backyard Bird Count. Learn more about birds at Cornell Bird lab Citizen Science Projects.

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    ESL Podcast 667 – Trying to Remember

    ESL Podcast 667 – Trying to Remember

    This episode is all about…what’s the topic again? I can’t remember it. Listen and find out for yourself. Download Podcast

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Future Payments for Retirees Are Big Issue Now for US States

    Governments must balance budgets, but also meet funding requirements for the pensions of public workers ECONOMICS REPORT (download mp3)

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Elderly Couples Demonstrate Benefits of Long Marriage

    VOAVideo: Elderly Couples Demonstrate Benefits of Long Marriage

    A happy marriage - or a permanent committed relationship - has long been associated with longevity and better health. Scientists say that's partly because healthier people are more likely to marry and stay married, and partly because of the health benefits, both physical and mental, that a loving, long-term relationship seems to confer. One European study published earlier this year in the Student British Medical Journal noted that mortality rates among married people were 10 to 15 percent lower than among unmarried individuals. VOA's Carolyn Weaver has more on why it's healthier to be hitched.

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    For Many People, First the Doctor's Office, Then the Web

    VOANews: For Many People, First the Doctor's Office, Then the Web

    Americans say searching online is one of the leading ways they look for a second opinion TECHNOLOGY REPORT (download mp3)

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Snoring: More Than Just a Nuisance, It Can Take Your Breath Away

    VOAVideo: Snoring: More Than Just a Nuisance, It Can Take Your Breath Away

    A huge part of the world's population of the world snores during sleep, something that is usually made fun of by others. But in some cases, snoring is not a laughing matter. It can often be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that can have serious health consequences. VOA's Ayesha Khalid takes a look at sleep apnea, and at some of the measures doctors are using to diagnose and treat it.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Software Changing the Way Medicine Practiced

    VOAVideo: Software Changing the Way Medicine Practiced
    Just as the Internet's social networks have changed the way people communicate - a case in point is how Facebook helped Egyptian protesters to organize their historic demonstrations - social media also are changing the way doctors' offices operate and the way patients communicate with their doctors.

    ESL Podcast 662 – Doctor-Patient Confidentiality

    ESL Podcast 662 – Doctor-Patient Confidentiality

    Can you trust your doctor to keep a secret? Find out in this episode. Download Podcast