June 8-14 Weekly News

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Earth gets a fifth ocean

We learn at school that there are four oceans - the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Arctic Oceans. However, the National Geographic Society now accepts there is a "Southern Ocean". This is around the South Pole and Antarctica. Geography teachers will now teach students that the world has five oceans. National Geographic said: "We think it's really important from an educational [viewpoint]...to bring attention to the Southern Ocean as a fifth ocean."

Learning about the Southern Ocean will change how children see the world and climate change. National Geographic said students must learn about how important oceans are to the world. It said: "Antarctica forms a distinct ecological region defined by ocean currents and temperatures." It added that the Southern Ocean has "unique and fragile marine ecosystems" full of wonderful ocean life like whales, penguins and seals.

https://breakingnewsenglish.com/2106/210613-southern-ocean-1.html

Tigray on brink of famine, warns U.N

Tigray on brink of famine, warns U.N.

The U.N. has warned that people in Ethiopia's Tigray region are on the brink of a famine. The northern state of Tigray is home to the Tigrayan, Irob and Kunama peoples. In addition to facing starvation, people in Tigray have had to endure additional hardships because of a military conflict. In November, the Tigray People's Liberation Front started fighting Ethiopia's army to overthrow the government. Neighbouring Eritrea joined on the side of Ethiopia. This escalated into the Tigray War. It has caused instability in the region and has increased people's suffering.

The U.N. warned that: "The situation will only keep getting worse unless needed funding is increased and humanitarian access is improved." It added: "People need to wake up. There is now the risk of a loss of life running into the hundreds of thousands or worse." It said businesses, the economy, crops and farms have been destroyed. A farmer in Tigray said: "We are eating small remains of crops that we have managed to hide, but now we don't have anything. Nobody has given us any aid. Almost everyone is on the verge of death....Death is knocking on our door."

https://breakingnewsenglish.com/2106/210611-tigray-ethiopia-war-5.html

Supersonic passenger jets could be flying by 2029

Supersonic passenger jets could be flying by 2029

Supersonic passenger planes could return to the skies before the end of this decade. Supersonic means faster than the speed of sound. The speed of sound is Mach 1, which is 1,234.8kph. The US carrier United Airlines has plans to buy 15 supersonic jets from a company called Boom Supersonic. The planes will fly up to 88 passengers in an all-business class service. They will fly at a top speed of Mach 1.7. This is 2,099kph. Most modern passenger jets have a cruising speed of just over 1,000kph. The new planes could greatly cut the time it takes to fly around the world. Passengers could fly from London to New York in under four hours. It currently takes around 7 1/2 hours to do that journey.

The jets ordered by United Airlines are called Overture. They will be the first supersonic jets to make commercial flights since Concorde stopped operating in 2003. Concorde was jointly operated by British Airways and Air France. The cost of Overture tickets will be roughly the same as regular business class tickets. The price of a Concorde ticket was over 20 times higher than economy class tickets, which meant only the super-rich could afford one. Boom's CEO said Overture will have much better fuel efficiency and profitability than Concorde. Flights will be net-zero carbon and will use sustainable aviation fuel. The cost of each Overture airplane is approximately $200 million. Boom already has around $6 billion in orders.

https://breakingnewsenglish.com/2106/210609-supersonic-jets.html

G7 leaders promise to build a better world

G7 leaders promise to build a better world

The G7 Summit has ended with the creation of a plan called Build Back Better World, shortened to B3W. A key feature of this plan is a series of global economic initiatives. The White House said the G7 nations would coordinate in mobilizing private-sector capital in four areas - climate, health and health security, digital technology, and gender equity and equality. It will fund infrastructure projects and improve trade routes.

The White House added: "B3W will be global in scope, from Latin America...to the Indo-Pacific....The initiative will cover low- and middle-income countries." Another Summit promise was to vaccinate a billion people in poorer countries. Other promises included improving early warning systems to prepare for any future health crisis, a green revolution to cut CO2 emissions, and educating 40 million more girls by 2026.

https://breakingnewsenglish.com/2106/210615-g7-summit-4.html

NATO Leaders Speak Out on China, Russia

NATO Leaders Speak Out on China, Russia

Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Monday said the growing influence of China was an important issue for the alliance.In a final statement, NATO leaders described China’s growing military as “presenting challenges,” which some experts considered surprisingly strong language. The statement also described Russia as “a threat.”U.S. President Joe Biden arrived at the 31st NATO leaders meeting in Brussels with an important goal.

He said he wanted to get NATO allies to deal with problematic actions by China and Russia. He also said he wanted to win the trust of members of the 30-country alliance. “NATO stands together,” said Biden. After arriving at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Biden spoke with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.Biden has said he wants NATO members to speak out on issues of trade, defense and human rights that relate to China and Russia. The actions of those nations have become important foreign policy concerns for the Biden administration.

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/nato-leaders-speak-out-on-china-russia/5928649.html

Another Vaccine: Study Finds Novavax Shot Is 90 Percent Effective

Another Vaccine: Study Finds Novavax Shot Is 90 Percent Effective

American vaccine maker Novavax says a large study found its COVID-19 shot is 90 percent effective against the coronavirus and several virus variants. The results, announced Monday, were based on late-stage trials involving nearly 30,000 volunteers in the United States and Mexico. Novavax said the two-shot vaccine was about 90 percent effective and data showed it was safe. The company says it plans to seek emergency approval for the vaccine in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere by the end of September.

It estimates it would then be able to start producing up to 100 million injections a month. The company says it aims to supply 110 million doses to the U.S. over the next year and a total of 1.1 billion doses to developing countries.The vaccine -- which is easy to store and transport -- is expected to play an important part in increasing the availability of shots in the developing world.

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/another-vaccine-study-finds-novavax-shot-is-90-percent-effective/5928197.html

Billionaire Race: Bezos Aims to Be First to Visit Space

Billionaire Race: Bezos Aims to Be First to Visit Space

Three of the founders of America’s top private space companies have stated their personal desire to fly into space. But only one will be first. Jeff Bezos is head of the rocket company Blue Origin. He also founded the online store Amazon. Bezos has announced plans to make his wish come true next month on the company’s first human space flight. If successful, the 57-year-old would become the first person to ride his own company’s rocket into space.

Two other founders -- Elon Musk of SpaceX and Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic -- have said they also want to ride into space on a company-built spaceship. "Ever since I was five years old, I've dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos said in a message announcing his plans on Instagram. He said he would be making the trip with his brother, Mark. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend,” Bezos said. Joining the brothers will be at least one other passenger who is being chosen by an online auction. Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket and capsule can carry up to six people.

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/billionaire-race-bezos-aims-to-be-first-to-visit-space/5924820.html

Independent Bookstores Survive the Pandemic, So Far

Independent Bookstores Survive the Pandemic, So Far

America’s independent booksellers have, so far, avoided the disaster that many feared would come during the first year of the pandemic. Aaron Beckwith is one of the owners of Capitol Hill Books, a used bookstore located in Washington, D.C. During the pandemic, Capitol Hill Books started a program called “Grab Bag.” The store put together a bag of books based on the type of books the buyer wanted. When the program started, Beckwith said, “we had people email us in, and we got a flood of requests once we sent the tweet out that we were starting to do this… We got a thousand orders, within, you know, a few days. It took us months to fill them.”

American Booksellers Association (ABA) is a nonprofit organization that supports independent booksellers. In May, it told The Associated Press that membership increased from 1,635 to 1,701. The stores that joined were both new stores just opening and existing stores that had decided to join. The group’s executive, Allison K. Hill, and others feared that hundreds of stores could go out of business during the pandemic. However, the group only counted 14 closings in 2021 so far, with more than 70 last year. Hill said, “it’s fair to say that it could have been much, much worse.” She described the independent bookstore community as “bruised” but standing.

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/independent-bookstores-survive-the-pandemic-so-far/5922841.html

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