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learning english with voa news : Wednesday, January 30, 2019


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

 

Today you'll see "The story of Vatican Guards" in VOA NEWS English Learning. But however, you may suggest that

why the guards are Swiss soldiers. Please read for finding out the reason that I got from Wikipedia below.

  Many thanks to both Google Translate and G Grammary as ever.

 

Wikipedia

Swiss Guards
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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For the Swiss Guard stationed at the Vatican, see Pontifical Swiss Guard.

Soldier and officer of the Gardes Suisses in French service in 1757
Swiss Guards (French: Gardes Suisses; German: Schweizergarde) are the Swiss soldiers who have served as guards at foreign European courts since the late 15th century.

Foreign military service was outlawed by the revised Swiss Federal Constitution of 1874, with the only exception being the Pontifical Swiss Guard (Latin: Pontificia Cohors Helvetica, Cohors Pedestris Helvetiorum a Sacra Custodia Pontificis; Italian: Guardia Svizzera Pontificia) stationed in Vatican City. The modern Papal Swiss Guard serves as both a ceremonial unit and a bodyguard. Established in 1506, it is one of the oldest military units in the world.

The earliest Swiss guard unit to be established on a permanent basis was the Hundred Swiss (Cent Suisses), which served at the French court from 1490 to 1817. This small force was complemented in 1567 by a Swiss Guards regiment. In the 18th and early 19th centuries several other Swiss Guard units existed for periods in various European courts.

In addition to small household and palace units, Swiss mercenary regiments have served as regular line troops in various armies; notably those of France, Spain and Naples (see Swiss mercenaries). They were considered the most effective mercenaries of the 15th century until the Landsknechte (German mercenary pikemen) outmatched the Swiss battle-drill. At the Battle of Marignano (1515), the Landsknechte in French service defeated the Swiss pikemen, ending their pre-eminence.

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Vatican Guards Get New 3D Printed Helmets
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Vatican Guards Get New 3D Printed Helmets

3 hours ago

Swiss Guard recruits stands at attention during the swearing-in ceremony at the Vatican, Sunday, May 6, 2018.
Swiss Guard recruits stands at attention during the swearing-in ceremony at the Vatican, Sunday, May 6, 2018.
 
Vatican Guards Get New 3D Printed Helmets
 

The guards in charge of protecting Pope Francis and the Vatican grounds have received new high-tech helmets. The new helmets are made of plastic material created through 3-D printing technology. Previously, guard members wore handmade helmets made of metal.

The helmets were given to the Vatican’s Swiss Guard on January 22, the group’s 513thbirthday. They are the colorfully dressed security force that helps protect the pope.

The force numbers about 110 people. Members are required to be male, Catholic, unmarried and have Swiss citizenship, the Catholic website Crux reports. They must be between the ages of 19 and 30, at least 1.7 meters tall, and be willing to serve in the guard for at least two years.

The helmets are part of the Swiss Guard’s ceremonial clothing. These official uniforms include yellow, red and blue stripes on the parts covering the arms and legs. Guard members dress this way for official religious services by the pope or for Vatican visits by heads of state.

The new helmets look almost exactly like the old ones, with a round design and colorful bird feathers on top. One major change was added to the new helmets –an image with the coat of arms symbol for Pope Julius II. Pope Julius II first used the security force for his personal protection in 1506.

Urs Breitenmoser is a spokesman for the Swiss Guard. He told Reuters one the biggest improvements of the new helmets is that they will not heat up as much as the metal ones. This means the guards will sweat less, he said.

The new, lighter helmets should also provide relief for guard members wearing the helmets for long periods of time. Swiss news site Swissinfo.ch said the old helmets – which were made in Austria - weighed two kilograms. The new ones - made in Switzerland - weigh just 570 grams.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

 

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from Reuters and online sources. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

_______________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

 

helmet – n. a hard hat worn to protect the head

uniform – n. special set of clothes that worn by people to do a particular job or students attending school

symbol – n. a sign or object used to represent something

sweat – v. produce liquid through the skin when a person becomes hot or nervous

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US Intelligence Contradicts Trump on N. Korea, Iran, IS Threats

3 hours ago

From left, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testify before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing January 29, 2019. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
From left, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testify before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing January 29, 2019. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
 
US Intelligence Contradicts Trump on N. Korea, Iran, IS Threats
 

America’s national intelligence chief says North Korea is unlikely to give up all of its nuclear weapons. The statement contradicts President Donald Trump’s claim of progress on denuclearization.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats spoke to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

He said “we currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capability because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival.”

Trump and Kim met in Singapore last June. The two promised to work toward the complete denuclearization of the divided Korean Peninsula. But progress has been limited.

The U.S. has demanded full information from North Korea about its nuclear and missile sites. North Korea is seeking an end to economic restrictions against it. The government also wants a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War.

Trump is planning a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in February. Trump met with North Korea’s nuclear issues negotiator Kim Yong Chol on January 18. He said afterwards that the two sides had made “a lot of progress” on denuclearization.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with the delegation that had visited the United States, in Pyongyang, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, Jan. 23, 2019.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with the delegation that had visited the United States, in Pyongyang, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, Jan. 23, 2019.

Iran and Islamic State

Coats met with the Senate to present the yearly Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Committee. U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray were also there.

Coats told the committee that Iran “is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities.” Iran had agreed to give up its nuclear activities in exchange for trade and investment from the West.

Last year, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal negotiated earlier under President Barack Obama. Trump called it “the worst deal ever.” And Iran is threatening to build up its nuclear activities if the country does not gain from the promised trade and investment.

The report also said the Islamic State group “remains a terrorist and insurgent threat” inside Iraq. The terrorist group also operated in Syria where Trump has ordered a full withdrawal of American troops.

When asked for her assessment, CIA Director Gina Haspel said “They’re still dangerous.” She added that they still command “thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria.”

A Syrian woman and child walk past the shuttered doors of a restaurant which was the site of a suicide attack targeting US-led coalition forces in the northern Syrian city of Manbij which killed four US servicemen the previous day on Jan. 17, 2019.
A Syrian woman and child walk past the shuttered doors of a restaurant which was the site of a suicide attack targeting US-led coalition forces in the northern Syrian city of Manbij which killed four US servicemen the previous day on Jan. 17, 2019.

Russia and China

Coats also spoke of Russia and China seeking to expand their reach around the world. He said, “Moscow’s relationship with Beijing is closer than it’s been in many decades.”

The intelligence report warned about Russia. U.S. intelligence agencies found last year that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help Trump.

Coats told the committee that Russia and perhaps other countries will likely use social media and other means to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

 

Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English with news reports from Reuters and the Associated Press. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

 

contradict - v. to say the opposite

assess - v. to make a judgement about something

retain - v. to continue to hold or use

regime - n. a form of government

key - n. something that is necessary

decade - n. a period of 10 years

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English at Work

 

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

 

An Introduction

 

EPISODE 160701 / 01 JUL 2016

 

Meet Anna, Paul, Denise and Tom.

English at Work focuses on English communication in the office. Join Neil in this special introductory programme as he finds out about the characters who work in the offices of Tip Top Trading.

Here are the key phrases in this episode:

  • A good example that comes to mind...
  • I'm particularly proud of...
  • Timekeeping is important to me.

Listening Challenge

What kind of company is Tip Top Trading?

The answer is at the bottom of the transcript below:

Transcript

Narrator
Hi, I'm Neil. Thanks for joining me on English at Work - a new series of programmes set in an office, full of top tips to help you learn some useful business language which you could use in the workplace. In the next few minutes you can join me on an introductory tour around one of London's biggest imitation plastic fruit manufacturers, called Tip Top Trading. We're going to hear from some of the employees that work so hard to keep the business running smoothly. So come on then! Let's step into the office and eavesdrop on Tip Top Trading's possible newest recruit. I say 'possible' because she is still being interviewed for the job of Sales Executive…

Anna
Firstly, this job is an ideal match for my skills and experience: I've spent several years working in sales and I get on with people easily. Well, I mean, apart from the ones I don't like of course! Secondly, I know Tip Top Trading is one of the fastest-growing companies in London, and I want to be part of that.

Paul
That's absolutely right. Tip Top Trading is the fastest-growing company in the plastic fruits sector.

Narrator
Well said, Anna! If she gets that job I'm sure she'll be an asset to the company. The decision is in the hands of Manager, Paul, who we heard there. He's a nice guy really, a little disorganised, but when things go wrong he's got to take charge…a bit like this…

Paul
Yesterday was not a great day. Two clients came in with serious complaints. Mrs Kumquat received a delivery of imitation bananas that were purple – not very convincing, and Mr Lime ordered grapefruits, but got pineapples. Tom!

Tom
Yeah, listen...

Paul
Were you responsible for these errors?

Tom
Well... yes, but -

Paul
Look, mistakes happen. But it seems that Mrs Kumquat left our offices even angrier than when she came in and she says she will never use Tip Top Trading again!

Tom
I tried my best.

Paul
Hmmm.

Narrator
Ah yes, Tom! I hadn't warned you about Tom, one of the company's top Sales Executives – he's good….

Tom
[on phone] Tom speaking. Yah! Frankie! So what's the latest, are we on? 

Narrator
…but his interpersonal skills need working on. Listen to this!

Tom
My computer has crashed. I've lost my phone. And there's a big, BIG problem with my timetable. I have two meetings scheduled at the same time with two extremely important clients. I can't do them both at once!

Narrator
See what I mean! Now, every office needs a good office assistant – and Tip Top Trading is no exception. It's got Denise, who's there to assist, organise and sometimes make the tea…

Denise
Oh sorry excuse me, here's your tea Paul.

Paul
Thanks Denise.

Narrator
But goodness! She likes to talk…

Denise
Really! "Denise do this! Denise do that!"\I'm telling you Sharon, I've almost had enough! I get treated like I'm some kind of servant!

Narrator
That's Denise! I think we'll just leave the office now and let them get on with their work. So that's Tip Top Trading. There are plenty of other people we'll meet along the way – so go on – why don't you join me for English at Work from bbclearningenglish.com. See ya!

Listening Challenge - Answer

What kind of company is Tip Top Trading?
Tip Top Trading is a plastic fruit manufacturer.

Try Next 

Shakespeare Speaks small inlin... Stop Saying small inline promo... Lingohack small inline promo i...

 

Credits 

Series Producer/Writer: Rob Carter - BBC Learning English

Animator: Rosie Miles (http://www.rosiesmiles.com/)

Actors: The team at BBC Learning English

Latest English at Work

  • The Wedding Day

    The Wedding Day

    EPISODE 171004 / 04 OCT 2017

    It's Anna and Tom's big day! Will Anna say 'I do'?

  • Last call for Tom

    Last call for Tom

    EPISODE 170927 / 27 SEP 2017

    Just as Tom leaves to start a new life in Australia, Anna realises her true feelings. Will she be able to catch him before he's gone for good?

  • Something's missing

    Something's missing

    EPISODE 170920 / 20 SEP 2017

    Tom's walked out after Anna rejected his marriage proposal. Will things at Tip Top Trading ever be the same again?

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Four ministers of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government yesterday pose at Government House.
Four ministers of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government yesterday pose at Government House.

Prayut won’t step down as PM for poll

politics January 30, 2019 01:00

By KAS CHANWANPEN 
THE NATION

Junta leader awaiting ‘invitation’ from parties; expects to make his decision before Feb 8.

JUNTA LEADER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday vowed he would not step down as prime minister while stating clearly that if he was to return as the PM, it would be through normal means – as a candidate on a party’s list.

Circumstances now clearly point to General Prayut topping the PM list of the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat Party, but the coup leader yesterday remained officially non-committal, repeating that he had not been contacted by any party.

However, Prayut seemed to keep his options open, saying: “I am waiting for invitations. And I need time to study their policy proposals and their practicality. If I am to join them, I have to see their policies.” 

He said he expected to make his decision by February 8, the date when the Election Commission (EC) requires PM-candidate lists to be submitted by parties. He was much clearer on two other matters – that he will not give up his premiership during the election period, and he will not return to power as an “outsider” PM.

“Don’t press me now,” Prayut said. “Who will do this if I quit? I will stay no matter what. The law doesn’t say I have to leave. I can stay until the new government is in place.”

If he were to return as the premier, Prayut said, “I have to be on the list. Let’s just say that. Otherwise, they’ll say I’m an outsider [PM]. It’ll just get too chaotic if I am not on the list.”

With the election fast approaching and the strong possibility of Prayut keeping his hold on power after the polls, critics are calling for the PM to step down to ensure a fair election.

If he stays on during the lead-up to polling day and before the new government takes office, political observers say the regime will use its absolute power and current status to manipulate the poll.

They said the government could conveniently use the government’s major “Pracharat” scheme, which shares the same keyword as the pro-junta party “Phalang Pracharat”, to gain popularity over other parties. 

This criticism was especially severe when the government handed out cash to low-income earners as a New Year gift.

Also, mobile Cabinet meetings have been held in different provinces, allowing Prayut to meet with voters and respond to their demands.

State resources should not be exploited for the gains of a particular party, critics said.

In a worst-case scenario, given that the junta enjoys absolute power allowed by Article 44, political scientists have voiced concern that Prayut could use his absoute power to do anything – including cancelling the election altogether.

Attasit Pankaew, a political scientist from Thammasat University, warned yesterday that these criticisms would put much pressure on Prayut unless he steps down now.

“Of course, if Prayut is on the PM-candidate list and refuses to give up power, he has to bear the criticism that he is abusing state power for his own political gain,” Attasit said.

Questions about whether the election is free and fair will haunt Prayut throughout the campaign, if he continued in power, Attasit said. 

And after the election, if the pro-junta camp comes out on top, and Prayut remained premier, questions would be raised about his victory, he added.

If Prayut insists on keeping his position and power throughout the electoral campaign, the expert advised that he exercise his power discreetly to avoid public criticism that would make his premiership after the election difficult.

In a related development, the four ministers who occupy key positions in the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat yesterday resigned from their positions after weeks of criticism. Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana, Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong, Science and Technology Minister Suvit Maesincee, and PM’s |Office Minister Kobsak Pootrakool bowed out.

Uttama is the Phalang Pracharat leader while the other three are party executives.

Prayut said he will not reshuffle the Cabinet but only assign their duties to other Cabinet members.

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7 Best Homemade Natural Painkillers

We are fortunate to have access to several kinds of over-the-counter pain relievers, because daily life comes with bumps, bruises, and aches. Sometimes chronic conditions like arthritis, sciatica, or spinal stenosis can be behind the pain. Our first instinct is usually to reach for some acetaminophen (Tylenol), Motrin (ibuprofen), or naproxen (Aleve). They all do the trick.

However, despite relentless marketing to the contrary, these medications all come with side effects and are extremely toxic in doses uncomfortably close to the effective dose. It is easy to overdose. In fact, acetaminophen in the number one cause of preventable liver failure worldwide. Nothing else even comes close. These medications certainly have their place, but why not attempt a natural remedy first?

 

The 7 best homemade natural remedies on our list are all quite effective and come with virtually no dangerous side effects. You’ll be shocked to learn the old-timey dinner recipe that actually relieves pain.

And while we’re at it, did you know that people have actually been making tea with a close cousin of aspirin for many hundreds of years? Read on for these and other fascinating facts about natural painkillers.

 
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FINISHED
 
January 30, 2019

 

 

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