Friday, October 17, 2014

Free Online Test Targets English Learners

VOA Learning English: Free Online Test Targets English Learners

A private company has just launched what it calls “the world’s first free standardized English test.” Anyone with an Internet connection can take the test for free. The test can be found at more) (listen)

Words in this Story
  • launch – v. to offer or sell (something) for the first time
  • prohibitive – adj. so high that people are prevented from using or buying something
  • pilot – v. done as a test to see if a larger program, study, should be done
  • intriguing – adj. extremely interesting
  • game changer – n. an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Camera Captures Hong Kong Police Beating Protester

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VOANews: Camera Captures Hong Kong Police Beating Protester

Human rights groups are criticizing Hong Kong police for beating an unarmed protester. Several police officers were caught on camera kicking and hitting the protester. The man was unable to defend himself because he wore handcuffs. (read more) (listen)

Words in this Story

  • defend – v. to guard or fight against attack; to protect
  • incident – n. an event or something that happens
  • video – n. a method of recording images and sound without a traditional film camera to be shown on a television, computer or other device
  • legal – adj. of or in agreement with the law

Friday, October 10, 2014

HappyTen-Ten Taiwan! We stand with Hong Kong!

VOANews: Young dancers perform during National Day celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan. During Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou's keynote speech, he gave his support to Hong Kong's student protesters demanding universal suffrage in its 2017 election.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hong Kong Cancels Talks With Protesters

VOAVideo: Hong Kong Cancels Talks With Protesters

Hong Kong authorities have canceled talks with pro-democracy protesters occupying parts of the city after they vowed to step up civil disobedience.  The protest leader said increased pressure was needed ahead of the talks to ensure progress toward direct elections, and urged supporters to continue occupying public spaces (read more)

VOANews: Anonymous Tip Reveals Secret Payments to Hong Kong Leader

Leung received undisclosed payments worth $6.5M from Australian firm UGL in the two years since he took office

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hong Kong Democratic Party Founder Criticizes Beijing

VOAVideo: Hong Kong Democratic Party Founder Criticizes Beijing

As the pro-democracy occupation in Hong Kong stretches into a second week, authorities have agreed to discuss the protesters' basic demands on the constitution, the Basic Law. Democratic Party founder Martin Lee said the government is violating the law under pressure from Beijing. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Originally published at

VOANews: China Declares Cyber-war on Hong Kong Protesters
In an online battle between Beijing and pro-democracy activists, who has the upper hand?

VOANews: Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

A torrent of tweets and Facebook posts is pouring out of Hong Kong documenting the “Umbrella revolution,” but social media does not appear to be driving the protesters as it did the Arab Spring, also called the Facebook revolution. (read more)

VOANews: Hong Kong Crashes Great Firewall With FireChat

"Less than a week into the protests gripping Hong Kong in a showdown with Beijing over who will ultimately have a voice in the former British colony, that app has burst onto the scene. It’s called “FireChat”, and while not exactly new, it has quickly become the must-have digital assistant for those fighting for democracy in one of the world’s most densely populated cities"

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

91-Year-Old Achieves Dream, Learns To Fly

VOA Learning English: 91-Year-Old Achieves Dream, Learns To Fly

You are never too old to try to make your dreams come true! This could be Mary Moe's motto -- the expression that best captures her spirit. Mary Moe has done a lot during the past 91 years. For much of that time, she wanted to fly, but never had the chance – until now. (listen)

Words in this Story
to put something on the back burner – idiom. not getting or needing immediate attention.

calm – n. a quiet and peaceful state or condition; v. to become or to cause (someone) to become less upset, emotional, excited; adj. not angry, upset or excited

collaboration – n. the action of working with someone to produce or create something. collaborate – v. to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor

excite – v. causing feelings of interest and enthusiasm : causing excitement). excited – adj. very enthusiastic and eager.

proud – adj. very happy and pleased because of something you have done, something you own, someone you know or are related to.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hong Kong Protesters Remove Some Key Barricades

VOANews: Hong Kong Protesters Remove Some Key Barricades

Hong Kong protesters have removed key barricades and begun leaving one of the main protest sites ahead of a government deadline to clear the streets. Pro-democracy demonstrators on Sunday removed some barriers blocking access to the government's downtown headquarters and left the area. But the protesters appeared divided, and some vowed to stay put. (read more)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hong Kong Protesters Influence Vietnam Activists

VOA Learning English: Hong Kong Protesters Influence Vietnam Activists

Many Vietnamese now are using the Internet to support the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Many Vietnamese are changing their Facebook profile pictures to the symbol of a dove (a white bird that represents peace) tied with a yellow ribbon.  (listen)

Words in this Story

  • territorial - adj. relating to the ownership of an area of land or sea
  • symbol - n. a thing that represents or stands for something else.
  • ribbon – n. a long piece of material used for tying something or for decoration
  • avatar - n. an icon or figure representing a person on the Internet or in computer games
  • resolution - n. the action of solving a problem or a dispute​

Saturday, October 4, 2014

As the World Ages, Economies Will Change

VOAVideo: As the World Ages, Economies Will Change

Experts say it is not too late to influence the economic effect of the world’s aging populations.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Hong Kong Pro Democracy Supporters Battle With Anti Occupy Workers

VOAVideo: Hong Kong Pro Democracy Supporters Battle With Anti Occupy Workers

Pro democracy activists in Hong Kong Friday clashed with an angry group of people who identified themselves as local residents. They told VOA's Brian Padden -- who was in the middle of the scuffle -- that they want the nearly week-long demonstrations that have shut down parts of the city to end so they can go back to work.
Originally published at -

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hong Kong Protesters Threaten to Seize Buildings

VOAVideo: Hong Kong Protesters Threaten to Seize Buildings

The crowds of pro-democracy supporters occupying downtown Hong Kong thinned out significantly during the day on Thursday. As activists try to maintain pressure on the government to give in to their demands, the question becomes whether large numbers of people continue to participate or will public support dwindle over time. VOA's Brian Padden reports.
Originally published at -

VOANews: Hong Kong Leader Refuses to Resign

Leung Chun-ying says a top official will hold a meeting with students soon to discuss political reforms, but he gives no time frame for meeting

VOANews: Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

VOAVideo: Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Originally published at -