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Plain English | Improve your English with current events

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Plain English | Improve your English with current events

Jeff B. | Chicago, IL, USA | Helping you upgrade your English every week

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Plain English is the podcast for learners everywhere who want to improve their English in a fun and modern way. Every Monday and Thursday, we explore the events and trends that shape the world in clear, understandable English. We also take a close look at one English expression or phrasal verb in each episode. Best of all, we go at a slower speed so you can understand every word. By listening to current events and trending topics, you will expand your vocabulary, improve your English listeni ...
 
It’s the 80’s... Hip-hop is beginning to emerge. Cocaine, is already everywhere. And crack is about to make a dramatic appearance into ghetto life. This unprecedented consumption will make some dealers into the new kings of the streets, and also new role models for their community. The Undersiders will tell you the story of 8 of them. True and crude. Tales about millionaire drug dealers who at one point directly impacted on the development of hip-hop. Dr Dre, Tupac, Lil Wayne and many more… ...
 
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" Big companies like Johnson & Johnson, Toshiba, and General Electric are breaking into smaller companies. In many cases, the smaller companies focused on just one business line are valued higher separately than combined as one conglomerate. But one industry is consolidating as these product-focused companies are breaking up. Plus, learn “at first …
 
" Leaving a five-star review has become customary for any experience that is excellent, good, average, or even acceptable, and anything below five-stars means terrible in the world of online reviews. As consumers, this system isn’t helpful in identifying the true high performers, and it makes it difficult for people or businesses to stand out from …
 
" Merck and Pfizer have developed antiviral pills that are effective at reducing COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. Pfizer also pledged to make the pills accessible to lower-income countries. The new drugs are certainly providing reason for optimism and should be available soon, but there’s a catch. Plus, learn “a step forward.” -- At Plain Engl…
 
" Vertical farming is a new way to farm that is done all indoors and – get this – doesn’t require any soil. There are many advantages to vertical farming, and the new technique has already shown a lot of promise for feeding the future. But it’s still in its early stages and has a few limitations. Plus, learn “take up space.” -- At Plain English, we…
 
" Scientists temporarily attached a pig kidney to a human, and it worked for 54 days. This has the medical world excited and optimistic about the possibilities for future animal-to-human transplants, especially as an increasing number of people are needing kidney transplants. But the groundbreaking procedure also had several limitations. Plus, lear…
 
" Bogota launched an anti-machismo “Calm Line” hotline to help men manage feelings that can lead to abuse. The pilot program launched last December, and 2,000 men have already taken advantage of the program. Bogota’s city government has a long tradition of using creative initiatives to solve societal problems. Plus, learn “root cause.” -- At Plain …
 
" The global supply chain has had a rough couple of years. First, of course, there was the pandemic. Then, the container ship got stuck in the Suez Canal. To top it off, there have been several natural disasters that have added to the delays. This has led to shortages felt everywhere, and it doesn’t seem like things will be sorted out anytime soon.…
 
" The Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma in Spain has been erupting for a month, and unfortunately, it shows no signs of stopping. The full island still has not been evacuated, and some residents plan to wait it out in the toxic gas and ash. Plus, learn “at risk of.” -- At Plain English, we make English lessons for the modern world. -- …
 
" The U.S., China, and Canada came to an agreement to release three high-profile international prisoners. Last week’s lesson #411 covered how Meng Wanzhou and two Canadians named Michael were detained for over 1,000 days. The three countries came to a deal, but the U.S. and Canada are attempting to make it look like this wasn’t a hostage exchange. …
 
" Meng Wanzhou, Michael Spavor, and Michael Kovrig are three people that got tangled up in the American-Chinese rivalry. They all have something in common: they were detained by a foreign government and held for over 1,000 days. They also have this in common: they all went home on September 24, 2021. Plus, learn “against your will.” -- At Plain Eng…
 
" Earlier this month, Facebook and its entire portfolio of apps went dark for six hours. For most people, it was a minor inconvenience to not be able to get and give likes and text friends. But the outage got many people thinking about how interwoven Facebook is in our lives and businesses. Plus, learn “cut off.” -- At Plain English, we make Englis…
 
" Flu season was a breeze last year, largely because everyone stayed home and wore masks. But that is putting experts in a tricky and unpredictable situation this year. Some are warning that it could be a more severe flu season than usual. Time to get your flu shot! Plus, learn “come to pass.” -- At Plain English, we make English lessons for the mo…
 
" This lesson reviews the latest updates on previous Plain English topics: Britney Spears’ conservatorship legal battle with her father; Havana syndrome in American diplomats; progress on the Notre Dame cathedral restoration after the 2019 fire; the verdict on Impossible Foods and other meatless alternatives; cashless shops, and more. Plus, learn “…
 
" Earlier this summer, El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, announced that El Salvador would be the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a legal currency – without consulting the country’s key business leaders. Some think that the move might help the cash-based economy, but many others think he is placing a risky bet on El Salvador’s already fragile…
 
" Are you thinking about taking an international trip? I just got back from a vacation to five European countries. Each country had different and constantly changing COVID-related rules to follow, which added an extra layer of complication to international travel. I almost messed a couple of things up. Plus, learn “in order.” -- At Plain English, w…
 
" Do you need to be vaccinated, get tested, or quarantine to travel internationally? Short answer: it depends. Each country has its own set of rules that are subject to change at any time. This can make international travel even more stressful than it already is. This lesson covers what you need to know before packing your bags. Plus, learn “to get…
 
" Walt Disney World, the most-visited theme park in the world, is turning 50 years old. To celebrate, the park has planned the “World’s Most Magical Celebration,” which is expected to last for 18 months. Disney is planning new attractions, specialty food items, merchandise, and more that is still being kept a secret. Plus, learn “come to fruition.”…
 
" We all know what a bad apology sounds and feels like, the non-apologetic apologies. It’s easy for apologies to miss the mark, so how do we craft sincere ones? Turns out, psychologists have identified six key elements of a good apology. That’s coming up today on Plain English. Plus, learn “put your money where your mouth is.” -- At Plain English, …
 
" If you walk down the candy aisle in a grocery store, there are endless chocolate bar options: dark, milk, white, salted, fruity, you name it. Today’s lesson reveals four professional chocolate pairings that enhance chocolate’s natural flavor, so you’ll know exactly what to look for the next time you need to satisfy your sweet tooth. Some of the c…
 
" Flip phones were popular in the early 2000s, but Samsung wants to bring them back. They just released the Galaxy Z Flip 3, a modern flip phone with paper-thin folding glass. The glass is rated for 200,000 folds, but the jury is out on the durability of this phone. Plus, learn what it means for something to “hold up.” -- At Plain English, we make …
 
" The September 11 Museum has a wide-ranging collection of artifacts, including architectural remnants, recovered artifacts, and electronic media. The collection on display is powerful yet heavy, but it is a worthwhile spot to visit when in New York. Today’s lesson is the second part of the two-part lesson on the museum. Plus, learn what it means t…
 
" Last week, lesson 397 discussed what happened on September 11, 2001. In part 1 of 2 lessons, today covers the Ground Zero Museum and Memorial in New York that was built where the Twin Towers once stood. The museum tries to strike a balance between honoring the victims and telling the story of what happened there, and you’ll learn what “strike a b…
 
" September 11, 2001 is a day Americans will never forget. Americans that were alive at the time have moments that stuck with them, like where they were when it happened or bits and pieces from the 24/7 media coverage that followed. This lesson looks back on the tragedy and heroism of 9/11 and commemorates the day that changed America. Plus, learn …
 
" In the past, artists needed record labels and agents to promote their music and try to land radio spots. Now, with streaming services like Spotify and Deezer, artists can upload music to the platforms on their own. But this means the competition is higher than ever, and the power is in the hands of the streaming services. Plus, learn “light on.” …
 
" The new movie “Stillwater” stars Matt Damon and Camille Cottin. The movie is inspired by the real-life crime story about Amanda Knox, the American student who was convicted of murdering her roommate while studying abroad in Italy. Knox was not consulted about the new movie using her story, and she isn’t pleased. Plus, learn “inspired by.” -- At P…
 
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