Rebellion Brings Libya to the Edge of War

First there was Tunisia and then Egypt. Now, the storm of popular protest in the Middle East has reached Libya. The country has been ruled by Colonel Gaddafi, a dictator, for the past forty years. However, his rule is now threatened. Waves of rebellion against his government have brought the country to a standstill. In response, Gaddafi has ordered the army to attack the protestors.

The situation is getting worse every day. Important government officials have refused to carry out Gaddafi’s orders to attack the protestors. Others have joined the rebels. This includes the defence minister and Libya’s foreign diplomats. The rest of the world has unanimously withdrawn support from the dictator. Even so, Gaddafi seems determined to hold onto power. Many observers think that a tsunami of violence could wash across the country if a full civil war develops.





  • Rebellion 反抗;動亂
  • dictator 獨裁者
  • threaten 威脅
  • standstill 停滯不前
  • unanimously 一致地
  • withdraw 撤除
  • civil war 內戰


Writers often compare public unrest to violent natural events. Here, the writer uses ‘storm’ and two sea metaphors, ‘waves’ and ‘tsunami’, to describe the way protestors have attacked their governments.



  1. The troubles in the Middle East _______ the recent economic recovery.
  2. We _______ elected Zhao as class president.
  3. The only US _______ was fought between northern and southern states.
  4. Obama plans to ______ US forces from Afghanistan.
  5. During Chinese New Year, Taipei comes to a _______.
  6. The fashion designer Galliano lost his job for saying he admired the _______ Hitler.
  7. There was a _______ because of the unfair new taxes.


  1. threaten
  2. unanimously
  3. civil war
  4. withdraw
  5. standstill
  6. dictator
  7. rebellion

(資料來源:British Council 英國文化協會)


“Curveball” Throws Curveball on Iraq

You may not know the name Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi. However, under the codename “Curveball”, he was one of the chief sources of information about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This information led directly to the Iraq war, because the US believed that Iraq had to be stopped from building these weapons. Even at the time, people questioned the call. Now, “Curveball” has admitted that he was lying about the WMD program. The CIA and their German counterparts, the BND, were responsible for passing on Curveball’s information as true. As a result, they are facing serious criticism. Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state has stepped up to the plate to demand that the CIA explain why they did not cover all the bases. It seems that the CIA are now facing curveballs of their own.




  • codename 代號
  • chief 主要的
  • admit 承認
  • counterpart 對應的人(或物)
  • responsible 需承擔責任的
  • criticism 批評


Writers often use sports metaphors in stories. This story uses baseball metaphors. A “curveball” is a difficult question, and “call” is the umpire’s decision. “Stepping up to the plate” means getting ready to hit the ball, and “cover the bases” means to protect yourself.



  1. You should always soften __________ with a compliment.
  2. As class monitor, Mark is _________ for taking the register every day.
  3. One of the early US stealth planes was developed under the ________ Aurora.
  4. President Obama’s Taiwanese ____________ is Ma Ying-jeou.
  5. The strength of technology companies like Acer and Asus is one of the ____ factors in Taiwan’s economic growth.
  6. I have to ______ that I was surprised by the news.


  1. criticism
  2. responsible
  3. codename
  4. counterpart
  5. chief
  6. admit

(資料來源:British Council 英國文化協會)


Chaos in Cairo

Over the past few weeks, thousands of people have been on the streets in Egypt. They have been holding some of the biggest demonstrations the country has seen in recent history. They were unhappy with their President, Hosni Mubarak, and wanted him to leave. Demonstrators in Cairo said they would not go home until the President resigned. They made beds, bathrooms and all the things necessary to live for a long time in a public square in the city centre.

From the demonstrators’ point of view, the President had been in power for too long and it was time for change in the country. In response, the President first said he would stay until September. In mid February, however, he gave in and stood down. In the eyes of many Egyptians, this is a tremendous victory for the people. They see it as a new beginning for Egypt.





  • demonstration 示威活動
  • resign 辭職
  • necessary 必要的
  • public square 公共廣場
  • in response 回應
  • trust 信任
  • tremendous 極大的


Phrases related to ‘seeing’ are often used to show our understanding of the world. We only believe what we can see. They can also be used to express an opinion, such as ‘from my point of view’ or ‘in his eyes’.



  1. You can’t ________ him. He always tells lies.
  2. People often go to the ________ during a festival.
  3. If you don’t like your job you can ________.
  4. It is ________ to eat and drink to survive.
  5. When lots of people are unhappy about something, they often have a ________.
  6. The government reduced taxes ________ to public demand.
  7. The twentieth century was a time of ________ change.


  1. trust
  2. public square
  3. resign
  4. necessary
  5. demonstration
  6. in response
  7. tremendous

(資料來源:British Council 英國文化協會)


Biggest Mafia Crackdown in History

FBI* officers have arrested 127 people across the north-east US in one day. They are all believed to be members of the mafia, the well-known crime organisation. It is the largest ever crackdown on organised crime in a single day. The FBI say leaders of the five biggest mafia families in New York have all been arrested. They are involved in gambling, extortion and other illegal activities.

Many people believe the mafia is a problem of the past. It is true that the mafia has been weakened since the 1990s. A large number of gangsters have left “the mob” and testified against other gang members. Many mafia figures have been sent to prison for a long time. But the FBI’s director has warned that the secret crime organisation is still a danger to the American economy. He says these arrests are not the end of organised crime in New York. They are one more step in an on-going struggle.

*Federal Bureau of Investigation





  • arrest 逮捕
  • crackdown 鎮壓;痛擊
  • gambling 賭博
  • extortion 詐欺勒索
  • gangster 盜匪;流氓
  • testify 作證
  • prison 監獄


Writers try to avoid using names or words repeatedly because it is dull to read. By using alternative words, they can also give the reader more information. Instead of just being the mafia, it is also called organised crime, the mob and the secret crime organisation.



  1. Three people saw the crime and _____ in court.
  2. Police ______ him when he left his house.
  3. He broke the law, so they sent him to _____.
  4. All _____ apart from the national lottery is against the law in this country.
  5. Most _____ do not live to an old age.
  6. Gangs use _____ to get money from small businesses.
  7. The government is having a ______ on bad driving.


  1. testified
  2. arrested
  3. prison
  4. gambling
  5. gangsters
  6. extortion
  7. crackdown

(資料來源:British Council 英國文化協會)


Astronomers over the Moon about New Planet

Imagine a planet with a year that lasts a single day and a temperature much higher than on Earth. It may not sound much like home, but For NASA astronomers, this is as good as it gets.

In January 2011, scientists from NASA’s Kepler project announced they had found a tiny, rocky planet called Kepler-10b. It is very close to its star and moves around it very fast, so humans could not live there. Nevertheless, it is only 1.4 times bigger than the Earth. It is also made of iron and rock like the Earth – and this is what makes it so exciting. Most of the planets so far discovered outside of our solar system have been gas giants similar to our own Jupiter. The discovery of Kepler-10b shows that Earth-like planets really do exist outside of our solar system – and, one day, we could find a second Earth.





  • astronomers 天文學家
  • announced 宣佈
  • nevertheless 然而
  • iron 鐵
  • solar system 太陽系
  • gas giants 氣態行星
  • Jupiter 木星


The phrase ’over the moon’ means very happy. It comes from a children’s nursery rhyme, which has a line where a cow jumps over the moon. The phrase became popular because soccer players and managers often used it in interviews when their team won.

「over the moon」這個片語意指非常高興,此說法源自於一首童謠,其中一句歌詞提及一頭牛躍過了月亮。當球隊比賽獲勝時,足球員和球隊經理在接受採訪時經常提到這個片語,因此成為一種廣為流傳的說法。


  1. _____ is used to make steel.
  2. Our ________________ has eight planets.
  3. _________ is the largest planet in our solar system, and is named after the Roman king of the gods.
  4. Kepler was a famous _________ who gave his name to the NASA project.
  5. Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus are the four ________ in our solar system.
  6. The weather was terrible, but we had fun ___________.
  7. The government recently _________ that teachers and soldiers have to pay taxes.


  1. Iron
  2. solar system
  3. Jupiter
  4. astronomer
  5. gas giants
  6. nevertheless
  7. announced

(資料來源:British Council 英國文化協會)


Stealth Fighter Signals New Arms Race

China’s new prototype stealth fighter plane, the J-20, has had its first test flight. Stealth planes have an unusual body shape and are made of modern lightweight materials instead of metal. This means they are harder to see and produce less noise than normal aircraft. It also means they are invisible to radar and are very hard to follow.

Currently, the US is the only nation with an operational stealth plane. But both Russia and China are working on new stealth fighters. The Chinese government have said their plane will not be ready until 2017 at the earliest. However, many in the US see this as another sign of China’s growing military power.

China’s military budget quadrupled between 1999 and 2009 as the country’s economy grew. In 2010 it was $78 billion. But the US still has the largest military budget in the world, at just over $700 billion.




隨著中國的經濟成長,其軍事預算自1999年至2009年間增加了四倍,2010年的預算更高達780億美元。然而,美國仍是全球擁有最多軍事預算的國家,共計超過 7千億美元。


  • prototype 原型;試製品
  • aircraft 飛機
  • invisible 隱形的
  • radar 雷達
  • operational 可實際操作的
  • military 軍事的
  • budget 預算
  • quadrupled 成為四倍


An arms race is a situation where two countries compete to make larger numbers of weapons, bigger armies, or better military technology. It often refers to the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union after World War II.



  1. The movie has a __________ of five million dollars.
  2. In the story, the wizard could make himself _________ with a magic spell.
  3. My company makes helicopters and other small _________.
  4. The town’s population __________ in just 20 years.
  5. I have built a _________ of my new invention.
  6. In Taiwan, young men have to do ________ service.
  7. The new MRT station will be _________ in 2012.
  8. The airport uses _________ to detect approaching planes.


  1. budget
  2. invisible
  3. aircraft
  4. quadrupled
  5. prototype
  6. military
  7. operational
  8. radar

(資料來源:British Council 英國文化協會)


Wikileaks Causes Diplomatic Storm

No-one likes it when their dirty laundry is aired in public. When the laundry belongs to the most powerful government in the world, the story is explosive. This is what happened when the website Wikileaks published hundreds of thousands of secret US documents at the end of 2010.

In fact, many of the documents were low level diplomatic messages. They were little more than gossip. Even so, many of the messages were very embarrassing for the US government. Others involved the wrong-doing of the US’s allies.

The US reacted very angrily. It tried to force the Wikileaks website off the web. Nevertheless, information is still coming out. What the story shows most clearly, though, is that in today’s wired world, be careful what you write down. You never know where it might end up.






  • website 網站
  • documents 文件
  • diplomatic 外交的
  • gossip 流言蜚語
  • allies 盟友
  • wired world 網路世界


You can guess at the meaning of some idioms, even if you have not seen them before. You would be embarrassed if people could see your dirty underwear. So you can guess that airing your dirty laundry in public means having embarrassing secrets brought into the open.

即使你未曾看過某些成語,依照句意聯想即可約略猜到其含義。例如:若他人窺見你的髒內衣,你會覺得難堪,可據以聯想「airing your dirty laundry in public」代表醜聞外揚。


  1. After Amazon.com removed WikiLeaks, hackers attacked the popular book __________.
  2. Over the last few years, Taiwan’s __________ relationship with China have improved.
  3. Be careful with these __________ – you need them for your university application!
  4. Now that every phone can get on the internet, the ___________ is becoming a reality.
  5. I hate _________ – you never know what people are saying behind your back!
  6. The US and Taiwan have long been ______.


  1. website
  2. diplomatic
  3. documents
  4. wired world
  5. gossip
  6. allies

(資料來源:British Council 英國文化協會)


Down Under Under Water

Australia is usually in the news for its droughts, not its floods. This year is different, though, and heavy rains have caused biblical flooding. Thousands of people have lost their homes, and life across the country is in chaos.

The worst rains were in the northern state of Queensland. Flooded rivers burst their banks. In some areas, waters were nearly 10 metres over their normal levels. Many people had to evacuate, while in others, people worked to build defences to keep the water out. The damage will cost billions of dollars to repair.

Even worse, more rain is on the way. These heavy rains come from the La Niña weather system, which brings Australia unusually cold weather. Since La Niña could last up to 3 more months, Australians are facing a season of floods twice as long as Noah’s.




更糟的是,據估計降雨量會持續增加。反聖嬰現象是造成豪雨的禍因,導致澳洲的天氣異常寒冷。由於反聖嬰現象可能持續長達 3個月,澳洲人將面臨比諾亞更為艱鉅的挑戰。


  • Down Under 澳洲
  • droughts 乾旱
  • floods 洪災
  • biblical flooding 非常嚴重的水患 (出自聖經故事)
  • in chaos 混亂
  • burst their/its banks 潰堤
  • evacuate 撤離
  • Noah 諾亞 (聖經故事人物)


In the West, writers often refer to the Christian bible. In one bible story, God floods the world for forty days, which is why ‘biblical flooding’ means very bad floods. Only Noah and his family survive. But Australia could still be getting floods for much longer than 40 days.

西方國家的作家經常引用聖經故事;其中一篇故事提及上帝因故製造的大洪災淹沒世界長達四十天,因此「biblical flooding」意指非常嚴重的水患。故事中只有諾亞和他的家人存活,而澳洲受到洪災的影響卻可能遠超過 40天。


  1. Thanks to the heavy snows at Christmas, the UK’s transport system is ____________.
  2. The long periods of ________ in Africa are responsible for the continent’s food problems.
  3. After Typhoon Morakat, the Taiwanese government promised to ______ people more quickly if necessary.
  4. In countries where heavy rain is common, houses are often built on platforms to protect against _______.
  5. When the Tam Shui river _____________ last year, the whole riverside park was under water.
  6. We’re going on holiday ______________ next month, to see Ayer’s rock and the Sydney Opera House.


  1. in chaos
  2. drought
  3. evacuate
  4. floods
  5. burst its banks
  6. Down Under

(資料來源:British Council 英國文化協會)