sábado, 21 de abril de 2012

A Piece of News

Here´s a reading comprehension exercise.


I am sure you have all heard about, read or seen on TV the piece of news about the king of Spain, Juan Carlos I, and his hunting trip in Botswana. Well, here is the piece of news in English as it was published in the newspaper El País. In English


This is one of those articles you will understand quite well even though its vocabulary is quite literary: in this case, the information you have (in your mind) about the piece of news will help you understand it. 


There are a couple of strategies that can help you understand newspaper articles:

  1.  use your knowledge (what you know about the subject) to make the most of any text.
  2.  when you do not understand a word, try to find out its meaning through its Latin origin. English formal language is easier for Spaniards to understand than colloquial language because we can often deduce the meaning of words.
By the way,  when I heard that the king had gone to Africa to hunt elephants I was quite shocked, angry, embarrassed... what about you? 



A monarch’s mishap

It is time for the Royal Household to provide information on the king’s journeys abroad

The news concerning the accident that has befallen the king in Botswana has surprised the Spanish public. This is not only due to the nature of his injury, which will mean he is again kept out of action for a relatively long period of time, but also because of the persistent failure to officially communicate the head of state’s private journeys abroad to the government, parliament or the public at large. The king traveled to Botswana and returned for his operation in a private plane. Spain does not have an embassy in that African nation, meaning that his repatriation had to be organized by the ambassador to Namibia.
Clearly, even kings have private lives, and therefore have a right to the same legal protection of their privacy as any other citizen. But information should be given out on the journeys abroad made by Don Juan Carlos, as is the case in the majority of democratic countries, even though Spanish law has nothing to say on this matter. The critical opinion of the United Left federal coordinator with regard to the monarch’s trip to Africa may be shared or not, although the idea that the king does not have the right to a few days of rest and relaxation, however harsh the reality of Spain’s economic situation, does seem somewhat exotic.
Nevertheless, it is not the first time that the king has had an accident outside Spain while participating in a dangerous sport. And the fact that this incident should have taken place beyond Spanish frontiers without it being clear whether the country’s authorities had any prior knowledge of his travel plans is bad for both the prestige of the institution and for the normal functioning of the head of state’s professional activities.
It is therefore logical to expect that once the king has made a fast and full recovery, the policy of transparency initiated by the Royal Household with regard to its financial circumstances — in response to the Urdangarin corruption scandal — should be extended to this kind of activity, without the regrettable necessity of an accompanying medical report.

If you want to read the piece of news about the king´s apology , click here.



13 comentarios:

  1. I believe that everybody (or nearly everybody)reacted like you,Rosa.
    It's clear that an activity as exotic as hunting elephants in Africa,is an expense. Taking into account the situation in which the country finds itself,it gives us something to talk about the king's image.
    I hope that Juan Carlos I has learned a lesson from this mistake as a human being.

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    Respuestas
    1. Kathy, there are certainly lots of sides to this topic. The king of Spain should set an example for people and I am afraid there are lots of things in this piece of news which cannot be looked up to.

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  2. Antía Tacón García, 1º F24 abril, 2012

    Rosa, you're right, this is embarrassing. We're in the XXI century and we have a king - and, in addition, a king who enjoys hunting elephants in his free time! However, it’s a shame that most people only realize these things when something shocking happens, as in this case. I think that the main problem is having still a monarchy in our country. I mean, these things wouldn't happen if we hadn't a man who represents our country, and whose luxury life is paid by all of us, only because he was born in a particular family. It sounds medieval! Moreover, it’s really unfair. He is set up for life since he was born, but why he does and the rest of the citizens don’t?

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    1. Antía, I can feel your anger in your comment. You have a very clear opinion about this matter- which I fully agree with. I am glad to see my students react against this sort of things.Good for you!

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  3. Guillermo Espeso Cobas27 abril, 2012

    The crash of the king of Spain, Juan Carlos I has caused much stir in Spain and in many other countries. But this attention isn´t only related to his accident, but also with the price it costs the trip, because much of what we paid the Spanish people. The guards and other persons accompanying the king didn´t ride for free.

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    1. Guillermo Espeso Cobas01 mayo, 2012

      I think what happened to the king causes his figure is in question, but this country could not be as it is without her figure, especially in the minds of many

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  4. Oscar Tato Ares30 abril, 2012

    I think that it was a very irresponsible action by the part of the king. Because we all paid their trip, and because he´s too old to go hunting to Botswana. Anyway, It´s true that it´s his life and he has to do what he wants, but he has other responsabilities, and after this trip he makes all the spanish people look like stupids to the E.U. and all the world in general.

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    1. Irresponsible is a good adjective to use in this situation since there are many sides to it, Óscar

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  5. Ernesto Jarabo13 mayo, 2012

    my point of view is defend the King because he is the main image of our country and he did a lot of important things to us.
    The King is a "rich" person and he gave up doing some activity for the crisis, but he will can do some hobbie isn't it?
    The mass media has exagerated this news because they wanted to earn money and for this reason they critizise to the King

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    1. Ernesto, I am afraid I don´t agree with you...I don´t think we must defend the king no matter what; leaving aside the fact that some of us may agree or disagree with the idea of the monarchy, hunting elephants nowadays is not politically correct, to say the least, and even our king should know that.

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