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Business

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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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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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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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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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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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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The Customer Is Always Right?
Patients give the same doctors different ratings depending on where their visit took place. Although doctors might act differently in an emergency room compared to a calmer office setting, researchers say the results also suggest that ratings are not a completely reliable measure of the quality of care physicians give. (Surveys, doctors, medical words.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Superdads
Chung Sang-hoon, 34, is at home with his two small children. Chung, a salesman, took a year of paternity leave from his job in a big foreign company. Before now very few men took paternity leave. Now dads taking paternity leave is more common in South Korea. (skimming, scanning, understanding text organization)
Pre-Intermediate
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Digital Assistants for Assistance?
As the tech giants race to build ever better artificial intelligence platforms, they are obsessing over the nuances of their digital assistants' personalities. For users, digital assistants are a gateway to powerful artificial intelligence tools developers expect to influence major decisions about what to buy and how to spend time. (Business, digital assistants and IT, Artificial intelligence.)
Advanced
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Computer Women
New York City programmer Bana Malik was passionate about computers and mathematics from an early age. But early in her studies at New York's Columbia University, Malik took a computer science class and felt out of place in such a male-dominated environment - a common experience for women and minorities seeking work in an industry dominated by white men. (Computers and schools, women and computer education, minorities, structure: not only but also)
Upper-Intermediate
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Autumn Leaves ....
Do you want to see New England's colorful fall leaves? Now a business sends the leaves to you. A Massachusetts man is offering to send bundles of autumn leaves to customers for $19.99. (Businesses, seasons, prepositions of time.)
Elementary
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Grandparent Childcare
Ock Mi-eun has been taking care of her grandson since he was born two years ago so that her daughter could return to work. It is not unusual for South Koreans to pay their parents to take care of their children. But the number doing so is on the rise.(Families, childcare, grandparents, aging populations, conjunctions.)
Intermediate
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Rent a Chicken
A Pennsylvania husband and wife rent chickens to customers. They rent chickens to about 200 customers in 12 US states and also Ontario and Prince Edward Island in Canada. (Vocabulary, farming, where food comes from)
Elementary
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Lunching Billionaire Style
A bidder appears to have won lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett after bidding in a week-long auction on eBay Inc.'s Web site. As in previous years, the billionaire will host the winner and up to seven friends for lunch in either Omaha, Nebraska, where Buffett lives and works.(Charity auctions, business, brainstorming, finding the main idea, true or false, summarizing, peer editing, past perfect.)
Intermediate
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First Jobs
It doesn't matter how famous, or how important or how rich the person is - almost everyone likes to remember their first job, which was usually very menial and low-paid... This month we ask famous authors what their first jobs were...(Sharing experiences, First jobs, Famous writers, work vocabulary.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Doll Hospital
A doll hospital in Australia is 101 years old. Most dolls are plastic so there are few doll hospitals in the world. (Favorite toys, doll hospitals, writing a description, do/does for present simple questions, make a choice.)
Elementary
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Bridging the Gap
Do you want a bridge? The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is selling 11 historic bridges. (Bridges, historic buildings and structures, tense revision, passive and active voices.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Vending Machines
It's late, the shops are closed and you simply must have a roasted eggplant-and-ricotta sandwich, a cupcake, a bike helmet, a gold bar and an iced cappuccino. (Vending machines, true, false or not given, comprehension, pronouns, discussion, the passive.)
Intermediate
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I Quit!
Are you thinking about quitting your job? Are you worried about how to quit? A funny new app tells your boss for you. (Jobs, quitting, apps, do you want to...?)
Elementary
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Kangaroos to China
Once considered pet food, kangaroo meat could soon be sold to China as a luxury product, to encourage Chinese consumers to do something few Australians will - eat it. (Skimming, scanning, matching information, jigsaw reading, internet research)
Intermediate
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Expensive Counter
It will take someone with pretty deep pockets to buy and move one of four surviving 17th-century French "pocket" calculating machines, to be sold in London in October. (Computers, pocket calculators, development of machines, antiques, opinion and descriptive adjectives, writing a description.)
Pre-Intermediate
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You're Kidding Me!
First, there were the maid cafes and then there were cat cafes for cat lovers to play with cats while they sipped a cup of coffee. Now, there is a goat cafe. The cafe has a pair of friendly goats for customers to pet, play with and even take for walks through Tokyo's concrete jungle. (Cafes, animals, present continuous, planning a dream cafe)
Pre-Intermediate
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Fill 'er Up?
Seeking a place to work out of the office that is quieter than a bustling coffee shop and provides drinks, printers, Wi-Fi and even petrol? Regus, a provider of ready-to-use office space, thinks it has the answer. It has teamed up with Shell Germany to open up workplace hubs and lounges in 70 petrol stations in and around Berlin. (Reading for information, brainstorming, expressions used with business equipment, present simple tense uses and forms).
Intermediate
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Barbie Land
Are you a Barbie fan? There is tea, tutus and pink tables at a Taipei cafe for Barbie lovers. "Every little girl has a Barbie..." said Henry Chiu. Fans like the cafe. "I feel like a Barbie doll in a fairy tale world. I feel like a princess," said Shiao Yu, a 30-year-old housewife. (Barbie dolls, yes/no questions, have got for possession, yes, he is/no, he isn't.)
Elementary
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Drive For Status
In Tebet, Indonesia houses cost around $100,000. Outside many of the [houses] are Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs and Jeeps - imported cars worth as much as the houses themselves. In Jakarta drivers show off sleek Italian sports cars, British Bentleys, and the most expensive people carriers. The luxury cars are a sign of the growing wealth of the middle class in Indonesia. Cars, status symbols, Indonesia, shopping, present continuous.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Asia's Nobel Winners
A Taiwanese vegetable seller is one of six winners of Asia's Ramon Magsaysay Award this year. Chen has been selling vegetables in Taiwan's Taitung central market since 1963. She has used the money she gets from selling vegetables to help build a library and feed and shelter children-and families displaced by disasters.
Pre-Intermediate
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The Best Place To Live
Once more, Vienna ranked world's nicest city and Baghdad worst. Vienna's excellent infrastructure, safe streets and good public health service make it the nicest place to live in the world, consulting group Mercer said in a global survey. (Cities and quality of life, discussion, complete the table, scanning, thinking carefully, ranking items.)
Intermediate
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Cash Mobs?
Flash mobs have been blamed as a factor in looting during urban riots. But now a group of online activists is harnessing social media like Twitter and Facebook to get consumers to spend at locally owned stores in cities around the world in so-called Cash Mobs. (Cash mobs, spending, business.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Adolescent CEOs
Venture capitalists are funding more chief executives under age 21 than ever before. Josh Buckley, chief executive of an online gaming start-up, is looking forward to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, particularly for the parties and the schmoozing with industry A-listers. There's one problem: Buckley may be turned away from many of the parties because he is not old enough to drink. (Young entrepreneurs, work, high-tech companies, venture capitalists, 'will' + infinitive.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Replacing the Carrot with a Stick
While workers mostly like to see an employer offer smoking cessation classes and weight loss programs, too few are signing up or showing signs of improvement. So now more employers are trying a different strategy - they're replacing the carrot with a stick and raising costs for workers who can't seem to lower their cholesterol or tackle obesity. They're also coming down hard on smokers. (Health care and compulsory wellness programs, business, pair crossword, opinion essays and discussion.)
Advanced
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That's Not Junk
One man's garbage is another man's riches, so the old saying goes. "University professor Jeff Ferrell is something of a U.S. urban Robin Hood, although what he gives away is not stolen but the result of dumpster diving. The professor of sociology looks through dumpsters and gives [most] of what he finds to the needy or to friends. (Reusing and recycling, waste disposal, vocabulary, true, false or not given, matching statements, second conditional, Trash or treasure Game, offering, requesting.)
Intermediate
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The Doll with the Dragon Tattoo?
The doll with the dragon tattoo? Mattel's latest collector's edition Barbie doll has pink hair and tattoos across her shoulders and neck. (Toys, Barbie dolls, role models, tattoos.)
Intermediate
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Renewables "gold rush"
Renewable energy has created a "gold rush" atmosphere in Germany's depressed north-east, giving the country's poorhouse good jobs and great promise. The natural resources attracting investors and industry are of a simple variety: wind, sunshine, agricultural products and farm waste such as liquid manure. (Germany, renewable energy, business.)
Advanced
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Hold the Pillow Mint
Hotel chains are delivering everything from yoga videos to recumbent bicycles to guests who prefer to work out their jet lag, or shape up for that business meeting, in the privacy of their rooms. "Probably fitness equipment is the biggest request we get from guests." (Hotels, fitness, conducting an interview, writing an email, scanning, present continous.)
Intermediate
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Change of Energy Source?
The lakeside town of Port Hope, Ontario, encompasses both the promise and the dark side of the nuclear industry. The town is home to the world's longest running facility to process nuclear fuel, a massive white eyesore that towers over the sailboats bobbing in its tranquil harbor. (Nuclear energy, the environment, business, nuclear accidents, like and unlike.)
Advanced
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Meeting & Greeting
In business, the first thing we do when we meet someone is shake hands. While it seems simple enough, this "first impression" greeting sends a powerful message about you and your respect for others. (Matching information, cases studies, word search, role play).
Intermediate
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Sprucing Up The Down-at-heel
In Paris' upmarket St Germain district, hairdresser Lucia Iraci spends her days coiffing the city's glitterati, including actors, models and musicians. Yet once a month she opens her doors to a more downtrodden clientèle, offering free pampering and a dash of glamor to women from poor districts who are often long-term unemployed or victims of abuse and even slavery. (Hairdressing and beauty, amazing life stories, women's rights, helping others.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Hot bodies
Using body heat from train commuters to warm buildings. (Energy, the future, word families, discussion, mixed questions, comprehension, will used to describe facts in the future, completing a diagram.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Dining Tips
We all indulge in less-than-perfect behavior in private but dining politely should be second nature - or should at least appear to be - if you are seeking to impress the boss or potential client. Here are some top tips to ensure social and business success at the table. (Business, table manners, dos and don'ts of dining, spaghetti eating.)
Intermediate
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How much is too much?
The son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett has an old-world spiritual message for today's money-rich parents: teach your children values and do not give them everything they want. Multi-millionaires want help in preventing wealth from corrupting their children's values. (Wealth, spoiling children, financial services, business.)
Advanced
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A Woman's Place?
Women are world leaders, CEOs and are 50% of the world's workers but a poll shows that 25% of people, most of them young, think a woman's place is in the home. (Polls and statistics, gender divisions, adverbs.)
Elementary
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Welcome To Clone Farm
To the untrained eye, Pollard Farms looks much like any other cattle ranch. Similar looking cows huddled in similar looking pens. But some of the cattle here don't just resemble each other. They are literally identical - clear down to their genes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of food from clones and their offspring, stating the products are indistinguishable from their non-clone counterparts. (Cloning, degrees of certainty, second conditional.)
Advanced
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Expensive Weddings
Thousands of Chinese women are vying to attend a lavish ball lured by the dream of a possible fairytale match with a millionaire. More than 7,000 women from all over the country are applying for just 40 tickets to Cinderella's ball, where several multi-millionaires will pay around $5,400 for the privilege of meeting them. (Marriage, finding a partner, weddings, fairytales, Cinderella quantifiers - expressions of quantity.)
Intermediate
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Shine A Light
Vegetable seller Ramiben Waghri took out a loan to buy a solar lantern which she uses to light up her stall at night. The lantern costs between $66-$112, about a week's income for Waghri. "The vegetables look better by this light, and it's cheaper than kerosene and doesn't smell," said Waghri. "If we can use the sun to save some money, why not?" (Renewable energy sources, developing countries, solar power, micro finance.)
Advanced
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DIY
Britain's recession is making people try new things from bee-keeping to growing vegetables. One of the fastest growing is DIY butchery. (Occupations, shops, present continuous tense, state verbs, vocabulary extension.)
Intermediate
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Banker to the Poor
Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, known as the "banker to the poor" for making small loans in impoverished countries, is now doing business in the center of capitalism -- New York City. In the past year the first U.S. branch of his Grameen Bank has lent $1.5 million, ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, to nearly 600 women with small business plans in the city's borough of Queens. (Microfinance, small business, present perfect continuous.)
Advanced
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Generation Y Makes Waves
They might wear flip flops to the office and address colleagues as "dude," but the youngest generation of workers brings fresh creativity and openness to the workplace. Tech-savvy and fast-working, they are also impatient, indulged and communicate differently from the rest of us - tweeting and texting and writing "CYL" for "see you later." (Generation Y in the workplace, writing a report, using -ing words in listing ideas, using agreeing and disagreeing language, solving a problem.)
Intermediate
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Dress For Success
Want that promotion? What you wear may be just as important as what, and who, you know to getting up the career ladder and serious formal business wear is the key in job interviews. (Business promotions and job interviews, business dress, case study discussion, reading memos, verb patterns, saying what you are going to do, giving instructions game.)
Intermediate
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The Gleaners
It's closing time at a market in Belleville, a working-class neighborhood in Paris, and a young woman in a black parka and white cap is rummaging through the abandoned crates. After a thorough inspection, she slips a cauliflower and some slightly squashed oranges into her shopping bag. "That's going to be my dinner," says the woman, who will only give her name as Yng. (Economic difficulty, scavenging for food, summarizing key points.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Swishing
Welcome to swishing--for people who want shopping, clothes and entertainment but don't want to spend any money. "Swishing dos" are parties where people swap second-hand clothes. (Swishing, clothes shopping in a recession, ordering a conversation, the present continuous.)
Pre-Intermediate
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