23 November 2017


Home For the Holidays: The History of Thanksgiving (Full Documentary)

Everyone knows the story of the first Thanksgiving, when a small group of Massachusetts's settlers celebrated making it through the year by feasting with their Native-American neighbors. But the story of Thanksgiving goes back much further, to ancient harvest festivals, and the holiday has been transformed over time into today's celebration marked by family, food and football. HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS is a warm look at this particularly American celebration. Discover how New York was the first state to officially declare a day of Thanksgiving, and how President Lincoln first made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. Explore period accounts and art that bring Thanksgiving celebrations through the centuries to life, and find out the origins of traditions like the Macy's parade. And why do we serve turkey on Thanksgiving anyway? It's an intriguing look at the sometimes surprising tales behind one of America's most beloved holidays.

21 November 2017


What are white-collar crimes?
Which of these can be considered white-collar crimes?
shoplifting-selling information-cybercrime
Do you think white-collar criminals should do time in jail?
How can young people be protected from cyber bullying?
What can we do to protect ourselves from online crime like phishing?
Do you think the victims of crime get enough help from the justice system?
How effective do you think prisons are?
What alternatives to prisons can you think of? 
Do you think there are too many laws or regulations governing our lives?
Are there any new laws you would like to introduce?
What laws do you consider unfair and how would you change them?
Does gun ownership make society safer?
Which are the requirements to own a gun in your country?
Can you  think of suitable punishments for these crimes?

1 Mugging
A teenager was walking home late at night after a party, when three men jumped out from behind a wall and hit him in the face. As he fell to the ground, they took his phone and his wallet from his pocket and ran into a nearby house.

2 Fraud
A man from London received a desperate email from his friend. Apparently, the friend was on holiday in the USA when all his money and possessions were stolen. He asked for £500 cash to be sent as soon as possible. The man sent off the money, and was just coming back from the post office when he saw his friend coming out of a shop. He hadn’t even been in the USA.

3 Burglary
A wealthy woman returned to her home to find that the back door had been smashed with an axe. All the drawers and cupboards had been opened, and her things were thrown everywhere. However, she was amazed to discover that none of her valuable jewellery had gone. All that was missing was a single antique vase.


The Pilgrims were English Separatists. In the first years of the 17th century, small numbers of English Puritans broke away from the Church of England because they felt that it had not completed the work of the Reformation. They committed themselves to a life based on the Bible. Most of these Separatists were farmers, poorly educated and without social or political standing. One of the Separatist congregations was led by William Brewster and the Rev. Richard Clifton in the village of Scrooby in Nottinghamshire. The Scrooby group emigrated to Amsterdam in 1608 to escape harassment and religious persecution. The next year they moved to Leiden, in Holland where, enjoying full religious freedom, they remained for almost 12 years.

In 1617, discouraged by economic difficulties, the pervasive Dutch influence on their children, and their inability to secure civil autonomy, the congregation voted to emigrate to America. Through the Brewster family's friendship with Sir Edwin Sandys, treasurer of the London Company, the congregation secured two patents authorizing them to settle in the northern part of the company's jurisdiction. Unable to finance the costs of the emigration with their own meager resources, they negotiated a financial agreement with Thomas Weston, a prominent London iron merchant. Fewer than half of the group's members elected to leave Leiden. A small ship, the Speedwell, carried them to Southampton, England, where they were to join another group of Separatists and pick up a second ship. After some delays and disputes, the voyagers regrouped at Plymouth aboard the 180-ton Mayflower. It began its historic voyage on Sept. 16, 1620, with about 102 passengers--fewer than half of them from Leiden.

How many people were on the Mayflower?  How long did it take for them to get to Plymouth? Get the facts.

Although Thanksgiving celebrations dated back to the first European settlements in America, it was not until the 1860s that Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November to be a national holiday.

Watch the video and answer the following questions:
1- What did the Wampanoags teach the pilgrims?
2- How long did the first harvest meal last? 
3-What did this meal include?
4-Later, what did the celebration mean for the Puritans?
5-in 1777, why did the Continental Congress decreed a Thanksgiving Day?
6-Sarah Josepha Hale started a letter writing campaign. Why?
7-Who declared the last Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving Day? When?
8-List some traditions started during the 20th century.

Turkeys are an integral part of Thanksgiving celebrations. No Thanksgiving dinner feels complete without a turkey! Do you know why we eat turkey on Thanksgiving? Well, there are a number of interesting stories that are accounted for turkey becoming such a dinner staple on this day. Eating turkey on Thanksgiving Day was NOT ALWAYS a part of the traditions. There is pork, there is chicken, and fish and then, there is turkey. Our great-grandfathers could have chosen anything as the highlight of the dinner celebration, so why turkey? I don't think anyone can put a finger on a specific incident that led to this custom. Seems like a bit of mystery, but, we can try solving the puzzle with these pieces from the history of Thanksgiving. READ MORE.


Ellen had three members of her audience on the Know or Go machine to find out how much they know about Thanksgiving! Would you have won?

Watch President Obama Pardon His Final Thanksgiving Turkey


Is there another way of talking about past habits without using 'used to'? This is the question that Tim tackles in this video. In it he has to reveal some of the dark secrets of his past as well as some of his present habits, which can't all be recommended.

16 November 2017

Mystery Story / Narrative Tenses

This video is about narrative tenses (past simple, past continuous & past perfect). We use these tenses to sequence stories about the past. To master the use of these tenses you have to deal with their form, their use and their pronunciation – both for listening and speaking. Use this podcast to help you deal with all of those things, and then start using narrative tenses fluently whenever you describe something. Make your descriptions more detailed and colourful!
Here’s the transcript to the mystery story, but with some of the verbs ‘gapped’. Try to put them in the correct tense. Listen again to check.
The mystery story
Last night I _________________ (walk) home next to the river Thames, when something strange _________________ (happen) to me. It was late at night and I ________________ (have) a long and difficult day at work. There was a large full moon in the sky and everything was quiet. I was tired and lonely and I _________________ (just have) a few pints of beer in my local pub, so I decided to stop by the riverside and look at the moon for a while.

I _________________ (sit) on some steps very close to the water’s edge and looked up at the big yellow moon and wondered if it really was made of cheese. I felt very tired so I _________________ (close) my eyes and after a few minutes, I _________________ (fall) asleep. When I woke up, the moon _________________ (move) behind a cloud and it was very dark and cold. The wind _________________ (blow) and an owl _________________ (hoot) in a tree above me. I rubbed my eyes and started to get up, when suddenly I _________________ (hear) a splash. I _________________ (look) down at the water and saw something. Something terrible and frightening, and unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Something _________________ (come) out of the water and _________________ (move) towards me. Something green and strange and ugly. It was a long green arm and it _________________ (stretch) out from the water to grab my leg. I was so scared that I couldn’t move. I _________________ (never be) so scared in my whole life. The cold green hand _________________ (move) closer and closer when suddenly there was a blue flash and a strange noise from behind me. Someone _________________ (jump) onto the stairs next to me. He _________________ (wear) strange clothes and he had a crazy look in his eyes. He shouted “Get Back!” and _________________ (point) something at the monster in the water. There was a bright flash and the monster hissed and disappeared.

I looked up at the man. He looked strange, but kind. “Don’t fall asleep by the river when there’s a full moon”, he said “The Moon Goblins will get you.” I _________________ (never hear) of moon goblins before. I didn’t know what to do. “Who… who are you?” I asked him. “You can call me… The Doctor.” He said. I _________________ (try) to think of something else to say when he turned around and said, “Watch the stars at night, and be careful of the full moon”. I was trying to understand what he meant, when there was another blue flash and I closed my eyes. When I opened them again, he _________________ (go).

I couldn’t believe what _________________(happen). What on earth were Moon Goblins, and who was the mysterious Doctor? And why had he saved me? I was determined to find the answers to these strange questions. I stood up, looked at the moon and quickly walked home.

Would you like to know what happens next in the story?

11 November 2017

Alibaba Prepares a Grand Retail Experiment for This Singles’ Day

Jack Ma beat Jeff Bezos into grocery stores. Now China’s richest man is again showing his rival the way by targeting 6 million mom-and-pop shops, the biggest test yet of a vision to reinvent physical retail.
Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is prepping for Singles’ Day -- an annual Nov. 11 online shopping fiesta dwarfing Black Friday and Cyber Monday that Citigroup Inc. estimates could generate a record 158 billion yuan ($24 billion) of sales. This year comes with a twist: the e-commerce titan has enlisted 10 percent of China’s convenience stores, about 600,000 outlets, to hawk goods and get billions of parcels shipped to customers nationwide.