風の歌を聴け

自然のチカラを借りてちょこっとだけ楽しませてもらう・・・
そんな生き方めざしてマス。
それをウィンドサーフィン、マウンテンバイク、
そしてバックカントリー(スキー)
で表現している二児のオヤジライダーです。

VOAで英語学習008



The Benefits of Companion Planting

Companion planting is the idea that some kinds of plants can help each other grow. Plants that are compatible generally need similar soil, nutrients and moisture levels.

Advice
about which plants are compatible is sometimes based more on tradition than fact. But experts say there is evidence to support certain combinations. These can improve harvests, reduce disease [and] help control pests by attracting helpful insects. For example, some kinds of soil bacteria take nitrogen from the air and make it into a form that plants can use. The plants hold, or fix, the nitrogen in their roots. Legumes are especially good at nitrogen-fixing. Then any crops that share the same space as the legumes can get the nitrogen as the roots decompose. Beans and potatoes can also share territory well because their roots reach different levels in the soil. Deep-rooted vegetables get nutrients and moisture from lower down in the soil, so they do not compete with plants with shallower roots.

But some plants placed together can harm each other's development. For example, tomatoes do not like wet soil, but watercress does, so you would probably want to keep them separated. Some kinds of produce should be kept apart even after being harvested. This is because of ethylene gas. Ethylene is a plant hormone that can cause some kinds of produce to ripen too quickly. This risk of ripening too soon is why markets often separate high ethylene-producing foods from those that are sensitive to the gas. But if you put an apple in a bag with a green banana, the ethylene from the apple will make the banana ripen sooner.

=================================
 

Europe's Horse Meat Problems

Ikea recently recalled frozen meatballs from its European stores after tests found some contained horse meat. Czech investigators said they found small amounts of horse meat in Swedish meatballs at an Ikea store in the Czech Republic. Ikea is the big Swedish company that sells furniture. But its stores also sell Swedish foods. The packaging said the meatballs contained beef and pork. Ikea said meatballs from the contaminated batch were sent to stores in some other European countries. They included Belgium, Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands.

Recently, laboratory tests found horse meat being sold as beef in a number of European Union countries. The EU law enforcement agency, Europol, is investigating the meat industry. Owen Paterson is the British environment secretary. He says the sale of horse meat as beef is unacceptable. He called it a fraud on the public. Millions of food items have been removed from stores, schools and hospitals. No one has reported any health problems, and the French eat horse meat. But the situation has upset consumers across Europe.

In Britain, horse meat was discovered in frozen meals sold by the Swedish-based frozen food company Findus. In France, an investigation has accused the French meat processing company Spanghero of knowingly selling horse meat as beef. The company denies the accusation.

The EU requires the packaging of fresh meat to identify the country where it was produced. But in prepared meals only the kind of meat used is required to be listed.

VOAで英語学習007



Small Change Can Improve a Child's Reading

Teachers and parents usually call attention to the pictures when they read storybooks to preschool children. But a study published in 2011 suggests that calling attention to the words and letters on the page may help a child's reading. The two-year study compared children who were read to this way in class with children who were not. The children whose teachers most often discussed the print showed clearly higher skills in reading, spelling and understanding. These results were found one year and even two years later.

Shayne Piasta at Ohio State University was an author of the study. She said most preschool teachers would find this method manageable and would need only a small change in the way they teach. They already read storybooks in class. The only difference would be increased attention to the printed text. If you get children to pay attention to letters and words, it makes sense they would do better at word recognition and spelling. But research suggests that very few parents and teachers do this in a systematic way. The report appeared in the journal Child Development. More than 300 children ages four and five were observed for the study.

The children came from poor families and were below average in their language skills. There are different ways that adults can talk to children about print. They can point to a letter and discuss it, and even trace the shape with a finger. They can point out a word. They can discuss the meaning of the print or how the words tell the story. And they can talk about the organization of the print -- for instance, showing how words are written left to right in English.

=======================
 

The Kabul Bank Scandal

A court in Afghanistan recently sentenced former leaders of the country's first private bank to prison. The two men were found guilty of crimes that led to the failure of the Kabul Bank in 2010. Some people say the five-year prison sentences were not enough. The bank failure led to a financial crisis in Afghanistan.

A special three-judge committee of the Afghan Supreme Court decided the case. The court found Kabul Bank's former chairman, Sherkhan Farnood, guilty of stealing $278 million. Former chief executive officer Khalilullah Ferozi was found guilty of stealing $530 million. The judge ordered the two men to repay the stolen money. The former bank officials have been under house arrest for more than a year. They were among 21 Kabul Bank and government employees who were tried and found guilty. The other defendants were given shorter sentences. All have the right to appeal.

The case was considered a test of Afghanistan's new legal system and the government's will to fight corruption. The special court did not charge several other influential people linked to the bank as shareholders or borrowers. These people included a brother of President Hamid Karzai and a brother of the first vice president.The Afghan government rescued the bank and renamed it the New Kabul Bank. Nations that help support Afghanistan, led by the United States, have promised billions of dollars in aid after NATO forces withdraw by the end of 2014. But they are demanding that the government bring corruption under control.

VOAで英語学習006



People Get Happier With Age

Do people get happier with age? If you said "Yes," then you were right. A recent study found that people generally become happier and worry less after the age of 50.

A team at Stony Brook University in New York asked people between the ages of 18 and 85 about their happiness. The researchers found that levels of stress were highest in adults between the ages of 22 and 25. Stress levels dropped sharply after people reached their 50s. Happiness was highest among the youngest adults and those in their early 70s. But those least likely to report feeling negative emotions were the oldest ones. The study also found that men and women have similar emotional patterns as they grow older. But women of all ages reported more sadness, stress and worry than men. The researchers also considered possible influences like having young children, being unemployed or being single. But they found that these situations did not affect the levels of happiness and well-being related to age.

So why would happiness increase with age? One theory is that, as people get older, they become more thankful for what they have and have better control of their emotions. They also spend less time thinking about bad experiences. Happiness is not the only thing that seems to improve with age. Another study found that people in their 80s reported the fewest problems with their sleep. Researchers had expected to confirm the popular belief that sleep problems are connected to aging. The survey found an increase in sleep problems during middle age, especially in women. But overall, people reported that they felt their sleep quality improved with age.


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North Korea Eases Mobile Limits for Foreigners

Foreigners in North Korea can now use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media on their mobile phones. A steady flow of tweets and Instagram pictures has been observed since the mobile service provider Koryolink launched its third generation, or 3G, network last week. The move came weeks after the North Korean government announced that it would let foreigners bring their mobile phones into the country.Until recently, foreigners were required to leave their phones with customs officials. The changes represent a rare reform in what is considered to be the world's most repressive country. Some experts say it might be a sign that North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, is open to easing official restrictions.

Martyn Williams operates the North Korea Tech blog. He says the changes could create a hole in the wall of censorship that keeps almost all foreign information out of the country.The new mobile Internet service will be available only to the small number of foreigners in North Korea. But Martyn Williams says the service could change the way foreign media report on North Korea. He says having an Internet connection on a camera-equipped mobile phone means reporters can avoid some of the official restrictions.

David Slatter works in Seoul as a writer for the website NKNews.org. He says that reporters might be able to publish some images without the approval of the North Korean government. But he says their effect may be limited.China's official Xinhua news agency says the Koryolink SIM card will cost $200 and the same amount for 2 gigabytes of data.

   

  
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