Mandatory Vacation

 

 

Should the government force their workers to take a holiday?

Japanese office workers are known for working long hours and working overtime for no additional compensation. In 2011, roughly one-third of suicides in Japan were caused by overworking.

Which is why, the Japanese government is planning to require their workaholic citizens to use at least 5 out of 10 paid vacation days per year.

The government has claimed that they are having a problem convincing people to spend their time away from the office. In the past, they have created more national holidays in order to encourage workers to take a day off. However, they believe that it is not enough.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Compensation – something (such as money) given or received as payment
  2. Roughly – approximately; more or less
  3. Workaholic – a person who works too much
  4. Convincing – causing one to believe the truth of something

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What do you think about the attitude of Japanese workers? Are they too workaholic?
  2. Do you agree with the government’s plan? Why or why not?
  3. What should the government do to encourage their workers to take a day off?

    Should the government force their workers to take a holiday? Japanese office workers are known for working long […]


Continue Reading.. 

Level:

Intermediate

Smoking Prohibited In Bars and Casinos in New Orleans

 

 

Do you know that in New Orleans, you won’t be allowed to smoke inside the bar and casinos in the near future?

The New Orleans City Council has voted unanimously to pass a new law that will ban smoking in casinos and bars. The said law will take effect in about three months.

The city officials decided to pass this law because they were concerned with the health of the other people who are exposed to second-hand smoke while they are in the establishment.

However, owners of bars and gambling shops are worried that their business will get hurt. In fact, during a meeting in a large casino next to the French Quarter, their lawyers estimated that their revenues will decline to 20% because of the ban.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Unanimously – of one mind, without disagreement
  2. Ban – to prohibit, forbid something
  3. Second-hand smoke – also called as passive smoking; happens when someone who doesn’t smoke inhale the cigarette smoke from someone who is smoking near them
  4. Establishment – a public or private structure (business or governmental or educational building)
  5. Revenue – entire amount of income
  6. Decline – grow worse; go down

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you agree with the decision of the city officials to ban smoking in bars and casinos? Why or why not?
  2. Does your country have a similar law which bans smoking in some establishments? Please explain.
  3. How does your government prevent second-hand smoking?

    Do you know that in New Orleans, you won’t be allowed to smoke inside the bar and casinos […]


Continue Reading.. 

Level:

Intermediate

The World’s Most Corrupt Countries (2014)

 

 

Which country do you think is the most corrupt when it comes to politics and business?

The previous article talks about the least corrupt countries. In this article, we list down the most corrupt countries given by Transparency Internationals.

According to their result, more than two-thirds of 175 countries have a score of below 50.The most corrupt countries are Somalia (8), North Korea (8), Sudan (11), and Afghanistan (12). These countries are thought to have poor and untrustworthy public institutions like police and media.

Ukraine, which is currently having a conflict with some Russian separatist rebellion, came in 142nd with a score of 26 and Russia’s score is 27.

Other news reporter took note of the score of Turkey (45) and China (36) which have fallen sharply due to corruption scandals that were broadcasted worldwide.

Here’s the list of top 20 most corrupt countries in the world:

RANK Country 2014 2013
174. Somalia 8 8
174. North Korea 8 8
173. Sudan 11 11
172. Afghanistan 12 8
171. South Sudan 15 14
170. Iraq 16 16
169. Turkmenistan 17 17
166. Uzbekistan 18 17
166. Eritrea 18 20
166. Libya 18 15
161. Haiti 19 19
161. Guinea-Bissau 19 19
161. Yemen 19 18
161. Venezuela 19 20
159. Angola 19 23
159. Burundi 20 21
159. Syria 20 17
156. Zimbabwe 21 21
156. Myanmar 21 21
156. Cambodia 21 20
Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU
Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Conflict – an open clash or fight between two opposing group (or individuals)
  2. Separatist – a person who supports the separation of a particular group of people from a larger body on the basis of ethnicity, religion, or gender
  3. Rebellion – organized opposition to authority; a conflict in which one faction tries to fight control from another
  4. Scandal – a disgraceful event
Perspective Exchange:

  1. What did you feel after seeing the result? Were you surprised? Please describe your emotion.
  2. In your opinion, why do you think these countries are most corrupt?
  3. What is your opinion about your own government?

    Which country do you think is the most corrupt when it comes to politics and business? The previous […]


Continue Reading.. 

Level:

Intermediate

The World’s Least Corrupt Countries (2014)

 

 

Which country do you think is the cleanest when it comes to politics and business?

Transparency Internationals released their annual study, 2014’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), about how corrupt public officials are in 175 countries. They gather their data by collecting surveys and assessments about the politicians and officials of each country and are scaled from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The least corrupt countries are Denmark (92), New Zealand (91), Finland (89), and Sweden (87). These countries were found to have high levels of press freedom, open budget processes and strong positive assessments from their citizens. Here’s the complete list of 20 least corrupt countries:

RANK

Country 2014

2013

1. Denmark 92 91
2. New Zealand 91 91
3. Finland 89 89
4. Sweden 87 89
5. Norway 86 86
5. Switzerland 86 85
7. Singapore 84 86
8. Netherlands 83 83
9. Luxembourg 82 80
10. Canada 81 81
11. Australia 80 81
12. Germany 79 78
12. Iceland 79 78
14. United Kingdom 78 76
15. Japan 76 74
15. Belgium 76 75
17. Barbados 74 75
17. Hong Kong 74 75
17. Ireland 74 72
17. United States 74 73
Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Transparency Internationals – is a non-government organization that watches and publishes corporate and political corruption in international development
  2. Corruption Perception Index (CPI) – created in 1995, it’s how Transparency International measures the extent of corruption in one country. It usually consists of assessments, surveys and opinions of citizens about their government and business organizations
  3. Corrupt – not straight; dishonest; immoral
  4. Assessment – the act of judging or evaluating a person, situation or event
  5. Scale – to measure

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What did you feel after seeing the result? Were you surprised? Please describe your emotion.
  2. In your opinion, why do you think these countries are least corrupt?
  3. What is your opinion about your own government?

    Which country do you think is the cleanest when it comes to politics and business? Transparency Internationals released […]


Continue Reading.. 

Level:

Intermediate

Russia and Its Own Wikipedia

 

 

Why would President Putin create a new version of Wikipedia?

Reuters reported that Russia will create its own version of Wikipedia. President Vladimir Putin believed that the information being given by Wikipedia about the region and life of Russia is not detailed or sufficient.

The government has already begun creating the alternative site where they used 50,000 books from 27 libraries. However, it is not clear whether the government is going to block the original Wikipedia after it’s finished or whether the people will be able to edit the pages freely.

President Putin previously called the Internet a “CIA Special Project.” Since February this year, the Russian government has the power to block access to websites that they think are critical of the government.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU
Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Region – a large area or location on the surface of the earth
  2. Sufficient – of a quantity that can fulfil a need or requirement; enough; ample
  3. Alternative – an option, choice, alternate or substitute
  4. Critical – characteristic of critics or criticism
Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you know what Wikipedia is? Can you describe it in your own words?
  2. Do you agree with President Putin where he said that the Internet is a CIA Special Project? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think it’s a good idea for the Russian government to have their own Wikipedia?

    Why would President Putin create a new version of Wikipedia? Reuters reported that Russia will create its own […]


Continue Reading.. 

Level:

Intermediate

On Poverty

222-illust_(Feb21)On Poverty

 

 

Do you think the world can eliminate poverty?
Poverty is a serious problem that the world has been going through. But, is it right to blame poor people alone for their own mishaps and predicament? What about their government? Corruption will never stop for people who are not satisfied with their wealth and power. Such causes of poverty and inequality are no doubt real. But the more global effects of poverty are not yet completely discussed.

In Africa, many people are having serious illness like HIV; India’s problem in water pollution is big that even tap water is not safe for drinking. In some countries, lack of education, food and shelter prove that poverty exists. In the face of such enormous external influence, the government of poor nations and their people are often powerless. As a result, in the global context, a few get wealthy while the majority struggle. On the other hand, despite all of those issues, people are still optimistic that poverty can be solved.

Contributed by: TEACHER ASUMI

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

1. mishap– an unpredictable outcome that is unfortunate
2. predicament– an unpleasant situation from which escape is difficult
3. HIV– Human Immunodeficiency Virus (a virus that causes AIDS)
4. tap water- water directly from the faucet
5. enormous– extraordinarily large in size, extent, amount, power or degree

 

Perspective Exchange:
1. What comes to your mind when you hear the word poverty?
2. Does poverty exist in your country? Can you mention some situation that shows it?
3. Can you give 3 major causes of poverty? Explain your answer.

    Do you think the world can eliminate poverty? Poverty is a serious problem that the world has been […]


Continue Reading.. 

Level:

Intermediate

Abe Orders Japan’s First Sales-Tax Increase Since ’97

100-illust_(Oct15)-Abe orders Japans first sales-tax increase since97

 

 

Are you satisfied with his performance?
Japanese Prime minister Shinzo Abe has recently started his economic stimulus plan by starting with the introduction of the sales tax hike. The hike will increase the tax from 5% to 8%. Hoping to end the two-year Japanese economic stagnation, Abe is introducing more stimulus package to encourage Japanese companies to return investing to their homeland as well as attracting foreign investors to put their trust back on the looming economy of Japan.  However, a large percentage of Japanese household are against this hike for the reason that since Japan is still in economic slump many of them are expecting to have to tighten their budget more and be more intelligent and intuitive when spending.

Contributed by: TRAINER JUNE

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. stimulus – any information or event that acts to arouse action
  2. hike an increase in cost
  3. stagnation a state of inactivity in business or economy
  4. looming – hang over, as of something threatening, dark, or menacing
  5. slump fall heavily or suddenly; decline markedly
  6. intuitive – obtained through instinct knowing rather than from reasoning or observation

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Who gets most affected by this tax hike?
  2. People from the higher ladder of life will probably barely be affected by these hike, but indirectly, how would they get affected?
  3. Is the sales tax really necessary? What, in your opinion are other options to choose by the government other than the tax hike?

    Are you satisfied with his performance? Japanese Prime minister Shinzo Abe has recently started his economic stimulus plan […]


Continue Reading.. 

Level:

Intermediate