What a disgrace for the United Kingdom?

English/Opinion 2014. 11. 20. 00:35


 What a disgrace for the United Kingdom?

 U.K is one of the powerful countries in the world. However, they have also bad reputation for the one thing that most people would agree. It is the food. Whenever some surveys, such as “which country has the worst food in the world?”, are conducted, British holds a high rank often, unfortunately. Why do people think that British food is the worst in the world?

 One of the several reasons could be a bad climate condition. Due to the geographic location, the UK gets influenced by the unsettled weather which is why people can experience many types of weather in a single day. Besides, this weather condition makes a shortage of food ingredients because it can limit the possibility of cultivating various ingredients.

Second reason might be the way how it cooks and how it looks. According to the survey, many respondents said that British food is the worst in the world because they eat the food in a weird way and also because of ingredients that they use to cook. Haggis, for example, is originally made of sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs encased in animal’s stomach. The unusual looking foods and the food made of uncommon ingredients can make people having resistance in mind.

 Last one could be British people’s dietary habit which could harm their own health. People around the world are getting more care about their health nowadays, which is why well-being food is gaining a spotlight. On the other hand, British food that is popular for people such as Fish and Chips and British breakfast is fried one including trans fats which could cause the disease like heart trouble or stroke.

British food has been developed as economy has and food is very important in terms of the UK’s national image. For instance, food is going to be one of the essential parts to consider when foreigners plan to travel to. It is still true that British food has insufficient impact to get people from the world.

NY Times : A Stronger Bill to Limit Surveillance

English/Opinion 2014. 7. 31. 10:40

A Stronger Bill to Limit Surveillance




The Senate is about to begin debate on a bill that could, at long last, put an end to the indiscriminate bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records and bring needed transparency to the abusive spying programs that have tarnished the nation’s reputation.


The bill, to be introduced on Tuesday by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is a significant improvement over thehalfhearted measure passed by the House in May. That legislation was notable for putting even Republicans on the record in opposition to the broad domestic spying efforts of the intelligence agencies, but its final version was watered down at the insistence of the White House.


Mr. Leahy said at the time that he wanted to write a stronger bill, and, after negotiating with the White House, he has. Both bills would stop the flow of telephone data into the computers of the National Security Agency, keeping the information with the phone companies, where it belongs. But the Senate bill takes a major step in limiting how much of that data the N.S.A. can request.


It would require the agency to ask for the records of a specific person or address it is tracking, instead of conducting a broad dragnet of an entire area code or city in the hopes of turning up something useful. The government would have to show why it thinks the records it requests are related to a foreign terrorist agent. The vague language in the House bill could easily have been exploited by the agency’s lawyers to conduct far more snooping on personal records than is really needed during a terrorism investigation.


The new bill would also make the process more transparent by requiring the government to disclose how many people’s data was collected by intelligence agencies, and how many of those people were American. It eliminates the one-year waiting period before a recipient can raise a legal challenge to a national security letter, which has been used as a form of extrajudicial subpoena by the F.B.I.



One of the best parts of the bill is a set of changes to the operation of the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is often asked to approve the government’s intelligence actions. Currently the judges on the court hear the government’s case without hearing an opposing side. Mr. Leahy’s bill would create a panel of advocates to argue before the court in support of privacy rights and civil liberties, and would require the court to issue public summaries of its decisions that specifically detail the impact on those rights.


The bill could have gone further in allowing the advocates to intervene in a case on behalf of surveillance targets, as a former judge on the surveillance court advocated recently. In addition, privacy advocates and other senators have backed a proposal requiring the government to get the court’s permission before examining communications of Americans that were collected when tracking foreigners. (Spying on noncitizens does not require a judicial warrant, but sometimes that spy data also turns up the records of Americans.) Mr. Leahy should add that provision to his bill, following a similar amendment approved last month by the House.


Over all, the bill represents a breakthrough in the struggle against the growth of government surveillance power. The Senate should pass it without further dilution, putting pressure on the House to do the same.




1) tarnish

v : If you say that something tarnishes someone's reputation or image, you mean that it causes people to have a worse opinion of them than they would otherwise have had.

e.g> The affair could tarnish the reputation of the prime minister.

v : If a metal tarnishes or if something tarnishes it, it becomes stained and loses its brightness.

e.g> It never rusts or tarnishes.

2) half-hearted

a: if someone does something in a half-hearted way, they do it without any real effort, interest, or enthusiasm.

e.g> Joanna had made 1 or 2 half-hearted attempts to befriend Graham's young wife.

3) water (something) down

: to make a liquid weaker by adding water.

e.g> The beer had been watered down.

: to change something such as a speech, a piece of writing, etc to make it less strong and less likely to offend people.

e.g> The criticism had been watered down to avoid giving offence.

4) insistence

n : someone's insistence on something is the fact that they insist that it should be done or insist that it is the case.

5) dragnet

n : a method used by police to catch suspected criminals. A large number of police officers search a specific area, in the hope that they will eventually find the person they are looking for.

6) turn up

v : to arrive or appear

e.g> he turned up late at the party

v : to find or to be find, especially by accident.

e.g> his book turned up in the cupboard.

v : to increase the flow, volume, etc.

e.g> to turn up the radio.

v : to cause to vomit.

7) exploit

v : treating someone unfairly by using your work or ideas and giving you very little in return.

v : to exploit resources or raw materials means to develop them and use them for industry or commercial activities.

n : the brave, interesting, or amusing things they have done.

8) snoop

v : If someone snoops around a place, they secretly look around it in order to find out things.

e.g> Mario was the one he had seen snooping around the room.

v : If someone snoops on a person, they watch them secretly in order to find out things about their life.

e.g> It is revealed as a fact that Korean government has been snooping on people who are innocent.

9) extrajudicial

a : outside the ordinary course of legal proceedings.

e.g> extrajudicial evidence.

a : beyond the jurisdiction or authority of the court.

e.g> an extrajudicial opinion.

10) subpoena

n : a legal document telling someone that they must attend a court of law and give evidence as a witness.

e.g> He has been served with a subpoena to answer the charges in court.

v : If someone subpoenas a person, they give them a legal document telling them to attend a court of law and give evidence.

If someone subpoenas a piece of evidence, the evidence must be produced in a court of law.

e.g> Select committees have the power to subpoena witnesses.

Editorial: A crisis we need to talk about

English/Opinion 2014. 7. 16. 19:05

Editorial: A crisis we need to talk about

The Coalition, in the wake of its recent disruptions, is certainly talking a great deal about renewal. When it comes to the far different matter of doing rather than talking, one issue that must not be lost in the political flux is our ongoing suicide crisis.


Sadly, despite some displays of positive intent, the response to this national trauma provides us with yet another unfortunate example of the Irish capacity to glide away from that which we do not wish to confront. Our establishment are currently investing their scarce resources of emotional intelligence in dealing with the tragedies of half a century ago as distinct to the current crisis.


It is necessary that we confront the truths of our mother and baby homes and our Magdalene children in a belated proper truth and reconciliation process. But, if we fail to properly talk about Ireland's suicide crisis by obsessing solely upon the faults of the past, then as Marx warned all those years ago, we are falling into the ageless trap of repeating them.


It is understandable that our governing class are somewhat shamefaced about the scenario where we have the highest rate of suicide amongst teenage girls in Europe and the second highest for teenage boys. They would be right too for the silent, still tragedies that have afflicted so many of our citizens and their families do not evolve out of a vacuum. Neither can the current level of suicides be simply explained by the familiar comfort blankets of blame such as excessive alcohol or drugs consumption, for something far more fundamental is actually afoot.


One partial cause of the suicide epidemic is undoubtedly the vast economic failure where a quarter of our citizens are not working. The side effects of the politics of austerity are as much psychological and spiritual as they are economic. Hope is one of the most important springs of social happiness and in passing of economic entrepreneurial skills. But, the psychological desolation that accompanies the desert of austerity is only one in a complex series of factors that have facilitated the rise of this crisis.


The other key factor in all of this is that our citizens and our young live in a state where faith has collapsed. We know now that the imperious facade of the Irish church was a front for opportunistic child abusers and ambitious careerism. A political class hollowed out by insufferable complacency and intellectual nihilism has failed the state and the citizen. The public sector has degenerated into a self perpetuating collective of Venetian Doges who now act as a vested interest rather than in the national interest.


All the pillars of society have crumbled, leaving nothing for our citizens and children to believe in beyond the hollow blandishments of an amoral digital age. The repair of such a fundamental breach in civic society where direction and hope has been replaced by a soiled vacuum is far more critical than the issue of whether some former Labour leader secures a European sinecure or who gets what in our toothless cabinet of EU satraps. One would, alas not think it from the current public discourse, but, we need to start to talk about real issues such as how to create a community where our children grow up in some better place than a valley of anomie.


Significantly, this crisis of alienation is not confined to Ireland. The rise of fascism in Europe and the creation of the first Caliphate since the Ottoman Empire might seem like far distant affairs with little relevance to our own world. Both, though, are part of the gathering revolt against the declining Western model of society. Political vacuums, as we know too well, facilitate the rise of ancestral vices. Be it in the East or our own state lost in transition, it is time our self-selecting elite move to combat such vacuums with a better alternative. That, after all, is their job.


Sunday Independent

1) flux

n : If something is in a state of flux, it is constantly changing.

2) glide

v : If you glide somewhere, you move silently and in a smooth and effortless way.

v : when birds or aeroplanes glide, they float on air currents.

3) magdalene

n : a reformed prostitute

n : a reformatory for prostitutes.

4) reconciliation

n : reconciliation between two people or countries who have quarrelled is the process of their becoming friends again.

n : the reconciliation of two beliefs, facts, or demands that seem to be opposed is the process of finding a way in which they can both be true or both be successful.

5) ageless

a : If you describe someone as ageless, you mean that they never seem to look any older

a : If you describe something as ageless, you mean that it is impossible to tell how old it is, or that it seems to have existed forever.

6) shamefaced

a: If you are shamefaced, you feel embarrassed because you have done something that you know you should not have done.

7) afflict

v : If you are afflicted by pain, illness, or disaster, it affects you badly and makes you suffer.

8) vacuum

n : If someone or something creates a vacuum, they leave a place or position which then needs to be filled by another person or thing.

n : a space that contains no air or other gas.

v : If you vacuum something, you clean it using a vacuum cleaner.

9) afoot

a : If you say that a plan or scheme is afoot, it is already happening or being planned, but you do not know how much about it.

10) spring

n : a spiral of wire which returns to its original shape after it is pressed or pulled.

n : a place where water comes up through the ground. It is also the water that comes from that place.

11) entrepreneurial

a : having the qualities that are needed to succeed as an entrepreneur.

12) desolation

n : a feeling of great unhappiness and hopelessness

n : If you refer to desolation in a place, you mean that it is empty and frightening, for example, because it has been destroyed by a violent force or army.

13) facilitate

v : to facilitate an action or process, especially one that you would like to happen, means to make it easier or more likely to happen.

14) imperious

a : If you describe someone as imperious, you mean that they have a proud manner and expect to be obeyed.

15) facade

n : The facade of a building, especially a large one, is its front wall or the wall that faces the street.

n : A facade is an outward appearance which is deliberately false and gives you a wrong impression about someone or something.

16) opportunistic

a : If you describe someone's behaviour as opportunistic, you are critical of them because they take advantage of situations in order to gain money or power, without their actions are right or wrong.

17) hollow something out

: to make a space inside something by removing pare of it.

: to form something by making a hole in something else.

18) insufferable

a : If you say that someone or something is insufferable, you are emphasizing that they are very unpleasant or annoying.

19) complacency

n : complacency is being complacent about a situation.

* complacent

n : a complacent person is very pleased with themselves or feels that they do not need to do anything about a situation, even though the situation may be uncertain or dangerous.

20) nihilism

n : a belief which rejects all political and religious authority and current ideas in favour of the individual.

21) crumble

v : If something crumbles, or if you crumble it, it breaks into a lot of small pieces.

v : If an old building or piece of land is crumbling, parts of it keep breaking off.

v: If something such as a system, relationship, or hope crumbles, it comes to an end.

v: If someone crumbles, they stop resisting or trying to win, or become unable to cope.

22) blandishments

n : pleasant things that someone says to another person in order to persuade them to do something.

23) amoral

a : If you describe someone as amoral, you do not like the way they behave because they do not seem to care whether what they do is right or wrong.

24) breach

v : If you breach an agreement, a law, or a promise, you break it.

v : If someone or something breaches a barrier, they make an opening in it, usually leaving it weakened or destroyed.

v : If you breach someone's security or their defences, you manage to get through and attack an area that is heavily guarded and protected.

n : A breach of an agreement, a law, or a promise, is an act of breaking it.

n : A breach in a relationship is a serious disagreement which often results in the relationship ending.

25) soil (= territory)

v : If you soil something, you make it dirty.

26) sinecure

n : a job for which you receive payment but which does not involve much work or responsibility.

27) satrap

n : (in ancient Persia) a provincial governor

n : a subordinate ruler, especially a despotic one.

* despotic

a : emphasizing that they use their power over other people in a very unfair or cruel way.

28) alas

ad : to say that you think that the facts you are talking about are sad or unfortunate.

29) discourse

n : discourse is spoken or written communication between people, especially serious discussion of a particular subject.

n : a serious talk or piece of writing which is intended to teach or explain something.

v : If someone discourses on something, they talk for a long time about it in a confident way.

30) anomie

n : lack of social of moral standards in an individual or society.

31) alienation

n : a turning away ; estrangement

n : the state of being an outsider or the feeling of being isolated, as from society.

n : a state in which a person's feelings are inhibited so that eventually both the self and the external world seem unreal.

n : the transfer of property, as by conveyance or will, into the ownership of another.

n : the right of an owner to dispose of his property.

32) confine

v : to confine something to a particular place or group means to prevent it from spreading beyond that place or group.

v : If you confine yourself or you activities to something, you do only that thing and are involved with nothing else.

v : If someone is confined to a mental institution, prison, or other place, they are sent there and are not allowed to leave for a period of time.

n : something that is within the confines of an area or place is within the boundaries enclosing it.

n : the confines of a situation, system, or activity are the limits or restrictions it invovles.

33) facism

n : a set of right-wing political beliefs that includes strong control of society and the economy by the state, a powerful role for the armed forces, and the stopping of political opposition.

34) caliphate

n: the office, jurisdiction, or reign of a caliph

* caliph : a Muslim ruler

35) vice

n : a habit which is regarded as a weakness in someone's character, but not usually as a serious fault.

n : criminal activities, especially those connected with pornography or prostitution.

n : a tool with a pair of parts that hold an object tightly while you do work on it.

Government must help young jobless into work

English/Opinion 2014. 7. 8. 16:37


Editorial: Government must help young jobless into work

 There are any amount of figures one can pluck from the unemployment statistics released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) yesterday, the good, the bad and the disturbing. The good news is that the unemployment rate is down again, the 24th consecutive month of decrease, and at 11.6pc brings us more into line with European average. 

The bad news is that there are still 386,000 people on the Live Register and that 47.4pc of all claimants, or 188,858 individuals, are now classed as "long-time claimants". The longer people continue to claim, the less likely they are to ever work again.


But the most disturbing part of the figures released yesterday is that 61,448 of those signing on for social welfare last month are under the age of 25, and that figure is almost 3,000 more than the previous month.


While it can be argued that youth unemployment is a European-wide phenomenon it is not acceptable that even after emigration has absorbed so many of our young people there are still over 60,000 able-bodied young men and women condemned to a life of dependence on the State.


There is a serious need for various government departments and agencies to co-ordinate a strategy to get young people off welfare and into education and training programmes. It is also unsustainable that, while so many are unemployed, employers complain that they cannot get Irish workers to fill jobs.


Governments, as we must all realise by now, do not create jobs, but they do create the conditions for the real economy to flourish, and that means more jobs for more people. The Government can also encourage people back to work by getting rid of welfare traps, which have been identified in various government reports but still persist and make it more worthwhile for people not to work than to take up jobs that pay the minimum wage.


It is also worth remembering that many of those emigrating are not unemployed, but leaving low-paid jobs for what they perceive as a better lifestyle abroad. After years of restraint and austerity there is also growing pressure for wage increases and the Government needs to be very vigilant if the good work of the last number of years is not to be undone.


The nature of work is changing rapidly and in some areas Ireland has responded magnificently, but it is important that the unemployed, especially those under 25, are not abandoned, but are educated, encouraged and coaxed into taking their rightful place in the workforce.


More vital debates than Good Friday drink ban


Is this why we saved the Seanad, so that it can spend time and energy discussing The Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill 2014, a bill which aims to allow pubs to open on Good Friday and we can all do what is permissible only 363 days of the year right now.


Closing pubs on Good Friday is always a good talking point, like the continuing practice of having the Angelus on RTE. There are, of course, arguments for having pubs open on Good Friday, and why not take it a step further and open on Christmas Day also?


The sponsor of the bill, Senator Imelda Henry, believes pubs closing on Good Friday is "a legacy of our past which does not recognise the massive changes in the country" and possibly she's right. But equally it could be argued that it is a legacy we should preserve, simply because, like the Angelus on radio, it is part of what makes us slightly different in this standardised world.


The real question, of course, is: have our legislators nothing better to do? We have lived through momentous events and yet we still haven't got around to the banking inquiry; social issues like suicide, unemployment, mortgage debt, gay marriage the list is practically endless abound.


Is it unfair to ask, in such circumstances, are there not more important issues to occupy the exalted members of Seanad Eireann than opening pubs on Good Friday?


Irish Independent

- See more at: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/editorial-government-must-help-young-jobless-into-work-30403386.html#sthash.TAI1D3e8.dpuf

1) pluck

v : If you pluck a fruit, flower, or leaf, you take it down between your fingers and pull it in order to remove it from its stalk where it is growing

v : If you pluck something from somewhere, you take it between your fingers and pull it sharply from where it is

v : If you pluck a guitar or other musical instrument, you pull the strings with your fingers and let them go, so that they make a sound.

2) claimant

n : someone who is receiving money from the state because they are unemployed or they are unable to work because they are ill.

n : someone who asks to be given something which they think they are entitled to

3) able-bodied

a : able-bodied person is physically strong and healthy, rather than weak or disabled

4) condemned

a : a condemned man or woman is going to be executed

a : a condemned building is in such a bad condition that it is not safe to live in, and so its owners are officially ordered to pull it down or repair it.

5) worthwhile

a : If something is worthwhile, it is enjoyable or useful, and worth the time, money, or effort that is spent on it.

6) austerity

n : a situation in which people's living standards are reduced because of economic difficulties

n : If you refer to something as showing austerity, you like its plain and simple appearance

7) vigilant

a : someone who is vigilant gives careful attention to a particular problem or situation and concentrates on noticing any danger or trouble that there might be

8) coax

v : If you coax someone into doing something, you gently try to persuade them to do it

e.g.> After lunch, she watched, listened and coaxed Bobby into talking about himself

v : If you coax something such as information out of someone, you gently persuade them to give it to you

9) Seanad

: the upper house of the parliament of the Irish Republic

10) abound

v : If things abound, or if a place abounds with things, there are very large number of them

11) exalt

v : to praise them very highly

12) exalted

a : someone or something that is at an exalted level is at a very high level, especially with regard to rank or importance.

Why you'll need to earn at least €23k a year to have a living wage

English/Opinion 2014. 7. 7. 15:20

Why you'll need to earn at least 23k a year to have a living wage


- PEOPLE in Ireland need to earn 23,000 a year to have a minimum acceptable standard of living, according to new research. 

Anti-poverty campaigners said that the basic "living wage" needed to meet normal living expenses for a single person is 11.45 an hour or 446 per week and they will lobby employers to meet this target.


The figure was calculated based on a detailed appraisal of the cost of 2,000 expenses typically faced by households including rent, food, energy, transport, clothing and services.


It was calculated by a Living Wage Technical Group with experts from the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice, trade unions and other groups and will be updated annually.


They want this level of salary to be extended to low-paid workers following the example of similar movements in Britain, the US and other countries where some employers have committed to paying workers "living wage" rates above national minimum wage rates.




The rate is 32pc higher than the minimum wage in Ireland which is set at 8.65 an hour.


Bernadette McMahon, of VPSJ, said they wanted to provide evidence-based research of the cost of a socially acceptable standard of living.


This new benchmark of the cost of living is important as new research has shown one in six adults in poverty has a job, said Dr Sean Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland.


"It is time Ireland recognised this reality and moved to ensure that every adult with a job earns at least the equivalent of a living wage," he said.


This week, Nestle in Britain became the first major manufacturer there to pledge to pay a "living wage" around 20pc higher than the UK minimum wage to all employees.


Dr Nat O'Connor, of the think-tank TASC, said a living wage would be an important step in tackling economic inequality in Ireland.


"There is a growing split in Ireland between those with good jobs and those in insecure part-time or low-paid employment," he said.


SIPTU said it will seek to implement these wage rates for low-paid workers through its work on joint labour committees.


The Living Wage research found that the after-tax cost of living under its criteria varied from 410 a week in Dublin to 348 in other cities, with housing costs significantly higher in Dublin but transport more expensive in rural areas where a car is necessary.


"However, we felt that Ireland is too small to have two different living wage rates, as you then get into arguments about where does Dublin begin and end," said Robert Thornton, of VPSJ.


Irish Independent

- See more at: http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/why-youll-need-to-earn-at-least-23k-a-year-to-have-a-living-wage-30406046.html#sthash.NeEx1SIH.dpuf