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Instant Lesson

It's Raining Cats and Tourists...
Wanted: Cat chief. Location: Zelenogradsk, Russia: Duties: Tending to the town's approximately 70 stray cats. An army of feral cats rules a remote island in southern Japan. There are six cats for every person in the village. (Cats, collective nouns.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Turtle Refuge
In New York, finding a nice apartment to live in is all about who you know. For turtles, that person is Richard Ogust. In France, Philippe Gillet has amassed a collection of more than 400 rattlesnakes, tarantulas and lizards. Why?(Endangered species, turtles, wildlife organizations, scanning, true or false, where and which, information exchange)
Intermediate
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Entrepreneurial Buzz For Afghan Teen
Three years ago a schoolgirl in rural Afghanistan took out a small loan and bought two beehives. In her first year she made enough to repay the loan and leave her with a small profit. The position of women has improved significantly, but traditional practices continue to hold them back which is why Hand in Hand International - the UK-based charity that loaned Frozan the money to start her business - focuses on women. (Microfinance, Afghanistan, women and empowerment, small business.)
Advanced
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Crazy Rich Asians
‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is filmed in Singapore. Rich people from Singapore usually live a more conservative life than the rich of Hong Kong or Macau. Here are five ways to spend your cash in Singapore. (Wealth, ways to spend money, superlatives, Singapore.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Counting Swans
One, two, three...? How many swans? Every year three teams go up and down the River Thames for the 'Swan Upping'. They are catching, tagging and releasing families of swans. (Conservation, swans, English history and traditions, animal babies.)
Elementary
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Ice Pops for Zoo Animals
London Zoo is feeding its animals sugar-free ice pops every day because of the very hot weather. A zoo in Thailand uses sprinklers, pools and shade to help keep animals cool.(Weather, animals and zoos, present perfect simple, talking about the weather, describing a zoo.)
Elementary
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Slow and Steady
The race starter stood up and shouted: “Ready, steady, slow!” The crowd cheered, but the competitors remained stuck at the start line. Welcome to the world slowest racing championship? (Gambling, discussion, understanding text organization, question construction, true, false or not given, error recognition, crossword, questionnaire.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Santa's Off Season
The World Santa Claus Congress has taken place at the Bakken amusement park near Copenhagen since 1957 and always in the summer which is Santa's off season. (Santas, Christmas, may and may have to.)
Intermediate
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Psychic Cat
Like many soccer fans trying to predict the results of the World Cup, Achilles the cat is busy studying the teams heading to Russia this month for the sport’s biggest global showdown. But he has one advantage: cat sense. (FIFA World Cup, Soccer, psychics, animals.)
Intermediate
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Plastic Free Shopping
“Over the past 15 years clothing production has doubled, while the amount of time we wear those clothes before throwing them away – usually to be landfilled or incinerated – has fallen dramatically,” Souchet told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. (Sustainability, fashion industry, plastic free labels and plastic free packaging.)
Advanced
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Shadow Boxer
Behind the apartment’s curtain, a tough guy is boxing, throwing left and right hooks and jabs. But a Japanese apartment management company hopes that the image of the boxing man will help protect women living by themselves. (Being alone at home, security systems.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Old Timers
The world's oldest man lives in Japan. (Longevity, world records, scanning, making questions, discussion.)
Elementary
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Green Spaces
In a square in central Barcelona, families with young children perch at picnic tables as traffic thunders past and high-rise blocks loom above them. The concrete mecca that is Plaça de les Glòries Catalanese is having a major facelift that will create a new green public space. Cities are increasingly looking for ways to provide more greenery.
Intermediate
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Let's All Move To Finland
Finland is the world’s happiest country, according to an survey that also found Americans were getting less happy even as their country became richer. (United Nations, Finland, discrimination, discourse markers)
Upper-Intermediate
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Camels
This lesson is all about camels and their cousin, the alpaca. Camels are paraded down a dusty racetrack as judges rated the size of their lips, cheeks, heads and knees. Find out why.
Upper-Intermediate
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Welcome Back
A school told a girl to stay at home because of her pink hair, but now she can go back to school. Parents in Ginza, Tokyo are surprised because their children's school wants designer uniforms for students. (School uniforms, civil rights, hairstyles, using will to make future predictions, designing a school uniform).
Elementary
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Thinking of You!
London police are sending criminals birthday cards with a picture of their local police station. Estonian police are sending Christmas cards to the country's worst drivers. Do this lesson to discover why. (Police, crime, birthday cards, 'present continuous')
Pre-Intermediate
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Designing The Downhill
It’s the ninth time he’s designed the Olympic downhill ski course, but Bernhard Russi will still feel his nerves tauten when racing gets under way in South Korea next month. Further playing on his nerves, though, is the knowledge of the extreme risks faced by the men and women trying to conquer the course he has set. (Downhill skiing, Winter Olympics, safety.)
Advanced
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Surprise Trips
A seven-year-old girl caught a train to Geneva airport and boarded a plane although she did not have a ticket. A 9-year-old boy from Minneapolis caught a flight to Las Vegas without a ticket and three German children aged five, six and seven who said they were fed up with cold weather set off to Africa but only got as far as the local train station. (Children, transport, taxis, past simple and past continuous tenses, ordinal numbers, the prefix -un.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Growing Up During The War
In just a year, a small Bosnian museum dedicated to the experience of growing up during the Balkan wars has opened, won a best European museum prize and decided to go global. The War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo, full of memorabilia from Bosnians whose childhood was traumatized by the 1990s war, has started collecting personal items from children affected by other wars. (Children, wartime situations, memories.)
Upper-Intermediate
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The Great Green Wall
The Sahel area, straddling 27 countries, has now been mapped in detail showing where and how to create Africa’s Great Green Wall. Some 166 million hectares of land have been identified for restoration - nearly three times the size of Kenya or France. The Great Green Wall project was launched by the African Union to combat desertification. (Great Great Wall, Sahara, Africa, FAO, reversing desertification, sustainability.)
Advanced
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Bags to Boats
The beaches of Kenya’s idyllic Lamu island are dotted with traditional houses, mansions, the odd donkey and, increasingly, tidal lines of plastic trash. One man has decided to design traditional sailing boats from recycled plastic. (Plastic bags, Kenya, boat building, effects of plastic on environment, matching information, discussion.)
Intermediate
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A Lot On Your Plate
One in six U.S. parents say their teen has tried a diet that is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan or paleo at some point in the last two years. “Parents should recognize that this is part of normal adolescent development toward becoming an independent adult; with that in mind, try to avoid seeing the situation as a challenge to parental authority,” a researcher said. (Teenagers, nutrition, diets, celebrations, Thanksgiving, shopping, pair crossword and conditionals.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Bikesharing: Way To Go!
There are orange, yellow and other brightly coloured rental bikes in cities in Asia. The bikes are outside train stations and condo gates. (prepositions of place)
Elementary
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Roof Farms
Farming on the rooftops of Paris has been such a success that the mayor is introducing more projects. By 2020, Paris will have more] than 100 hectares (0.39 square mile) of rooftop gardens and planted walls. (Gardens and cities, benefits of gardening, information exchange: sunflowers.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Rapping For The Party
In his baseball cap and baggy yellow t-shirt, the rap star Li Yijie - better known by his stage name “Pissy” - is an unlikely face of China’s strait-laced ruling Communist Party. is group, Tianfu Shibian, has won fans and the support of the party’s youth league with songs like “Force of Red” and “This is China” that chime with President Xi Jinping’s nationalist vision of China and its place in the world. (Music, millennials, politics, Communist Party.)
Advanced
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Chocolate!
Chocolate and um... chocolate. Chocolate festivals and eating chocolate mindfully at Halloween. (Festivals, food)
Upper-Intermediate
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Fence Them Out
Wildlife rangers in Australia’s outback have started building a 185 km (115 miles) electrified enclosure to protect native animals from pests such as feral cats, which are threatening some species with extinction. (Conservation, pests, endangered animals.)
Intermediate
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He's Over Roads
Benjamin David swims to work in Munich. He was tired of taking a bus or bike to work every day on congested streets. Now he gets into the River Isar and swims to work. (Transport, adjectives.)
Elementary
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Growing Well At School
Planting a successful school garden requires a lot more than just soil, seeds and water, say researchers who have come up with a planning tool that can help ensure school gardens thrive and endure.
Intermediate
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Waste Warriors
Naz is one of five Afghan refugee women who are not only battling traditional gender roles by going out to work, but who have also become unlikely warriors in the Indian capital's fight to curb plastic waste pollution. (Refugees, small businesses, dealing with plastic waste, India.)
Advanced
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Not Enough Room For More Fish In The Sea??
Lizzie Carr is on a mission. She recently became the first woman to cross the English Channel solo on a paddle-board to draw attention to the "global plastic crisis". From fishing lines to flip flops, there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world's oceans. (Global plastic crisis, oceans, working for a cause.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Bug Off?
Trying new foods. This lesson is centered around different articles about bugs as a food. Australians can buy chocolate-covered bugs and cricket lollipops. Germans bored with food crowded into a restaurant in Berlin to try insects, but people in Belgium aren't too sure.(Restaurants and unusual menus, reading in detail, true or false, discussion, some/any, much/many and ordering a hamburger.)
Elementary
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Working Dogs
Many California tech companies are encouraging employees to bring their dogs to the office, saying their presence can boost productivity, relieve stress and improve the work environment.
Intermediate
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We Used To Bath.....
A Tokyo bathhouse is offering classes on topics ranging from comedy to gaming. The bathhouse hopes to encourage younger bathers and reverse Japan's dying tradition of communal baths. (Bathhouses, Japan, traditions, used to + infinitive to talk about past actions and states that no longer occur, talking about traditions.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Allergies
Do pets in fact help kids to overcome allergies? Exposing babies to puppies and other furry pets might help them accumulate two types of bacteria in their gut that are associated with a lower risk of allergies and obesity (Health, pets, asthma, allergies)
Upper-Intermediate
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U.S. Makers Moving Homeward?
Why move production from the world's low-cost workshop back to a unionized U.S. factory where wages are six times higher than in China? Efficiency. Monster Moto's experience is an example of the obstacles American companies face as they, along with President Donald Trump, try to rebuild American manufacturing. (Business, China, the United States, brainstorming, despite and however.)
Advanced
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We Want To Learn
Iraqi girls are back at school in Mosul, Iraq after years of life under Islamic State. "We want to learn, we do not want to be ignorant," said one student.
Intermediate
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Memories ....
Tiny memory cards and fluffy teddy bears are among the most popular items for North Koreans shopping in Dandong, China's gateway city to its neighbor. (North Korea, souvenirs, television shows, influence of media.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Life In the Dry Zone
Myo Myint fondly remembers when his one-acre farm regularly produced 100 baskets of rice. But as rainfall became erratic, he started growing betel leaves, a less thirsty cash crop. This summer, the 50-year-old is considering leaving fallow his land in Myanmar's central "Dry Zone". (Drought, climate change, Myanmar, water conservation and irrigation sensors)
Advanced
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I Dare You .....
An Australian teenager who was bitten by a crocodile when he jumped into a river in northern Queensland on a dare is now recovering in hospital and looking forward to a date with the British backpacker he was trying to impress.(Truth and dares, sequencing, Australia and crocodiles, find someone who game, discussion on how to impress other people.)
Intermediate
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Canned Air
A Chinese company is selling lots of cans of fresh air. The air costs 48 yuan ($6.95). It comes from a forest in western China. The bottles will last for 2 minutes. (Business, air pollution, China.)
Elementary
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Girlfriend App
As millions in China head home to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday with their families, 24-year-old Luoluo is busy answering messages on a mobile app from desperate men looking to hire an instant girlfriend whom they can present to mom and dad. (Dating apps, phrasal verbs.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Hailing Women
Taxi-hailing service Careem is introducing women taxi drivers to Pakistan.
Pre-Intermediate
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Free Time ....
People tend to become less involved with community work and social groups as they age, but those who were most active in their high school years are the most likely to stay engaged as they age, researchers say. (Community involvement, young people and older people and involvement.)
Intermediate
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Enslaved
Pimp turned do-gooder Kaushic Biswas has swapped the brothel for the kitchen and is now teaching the sort of women he once exploited how to cook their way out of sex trafficking. (Slavery and forced labor.)
Advanced
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Groundhog Day
Punxsutawney Phil, a famed U.S. groundhog with an even more famous shadow, came out of his burrow on Thursday and predicted a long North American winter. (Groundhog Day, interview with a woodchuck, first conditional.)
Intermediate  Lesson Updated: 13 February 2017
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Raw Deals for Dads
With more British men wanting to take an active role in raising their children, are workplaces preventing fathers from spending more time at home, asks an inquiry launched on Monday, with men's rights groups calling for a "childcare revolution". (Dads and dads' rights, parenting and the workplace.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Dancing on Ice
It is a very cold morning in Budapest. Elderly Hungarians are ice dancing in the beautiful City Park Ice Rink. They skate to keep fit. (Old people and fitness, the present continuous tense, ice dancing.)
Elementary
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First Lady A Climber
Scientists using sophisticated scanning technology on the fossil bones of the ancient human ancestor from Ethiopia dubbed "Lucy" have determined that she was adept at climbing trees as well as walking. (Lucy and fossils, gerund following preposition.)
Upper-Intermediate
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