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Instant Lesson

Heroin Help
The drawings on the wall of the Sanga Amaj clinic show one 11-year-old's family tableau - father and mother huddled over heroin kits as their sons watch haplessly. Sanga Amaj is one of three U.S.-funded drug clinics for women and children in Afghanistan, the most overlooked and vulnerable of the country's many opiate addicts. (Drug addiction, children and treatment, Afghanistan.)
Advanced
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Eye See
It's estimated that up to 60 percent of school-age children in rural China need glasses to see clearly, but most either don't have them or don't wear them if they do. A new study suggests that misinformation about wearing glasses and the inconvenience of getting them - not cost - may be at least partly to blame. (Eyesight, stereotypes, making predictions, designing a pair of glasses.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Couch Kids
American children aren't the only couch potatoes with nearly one third of children globally spending three hours a day or more watching TV or on computers, according to a study of over 70,000 teens. From Argentina to Zambia, researchers found most children aren't getting enough exercise and it made no difference if they lived in a rich or a poor country. (Children and physical activity, interpreting diagrams and graphs.)
Intermediate
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Mobile Phone Health Question
Experts who studied almost 13,000 cell phone users over 10 years, hoping to find out whether the [cell phones] cause brain tumors, said their research gave no clear answer. A study threw up inconclusive results but researchers said suggestions of a possible link demanded deeper examination. (Health hazards, mobile phones, graphs, summarizing, use of may or might.)
Upper-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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World Cup Hearing
World Cup fans should wear ear plugs to protect them from the blaring vuvuzela trumpets beloved by South African spectators, a hearing expert said. (Soccer World Cup, hearing loss, sport.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Step Into Someone's Shoes!
When entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie saw Argentinean children walking barefoot on streets strewn with garbage and broken glass, he didn't just donate some money, he started a company with the goal of putting shoes on the feet of every needy child. Four years later TOMS Shoes has given away more than 400,000 pairs through a new form of business called "conscious capitalism." (Business philanthropy, children in developing countries, idioms.)
Advanced
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$40.00 a Foot
When Bhoopnarayan Jha lost his leg, he did not want to live. "I told my doctor, just kill me...," said 48-year-old Jha, who used to cycle 20 km (about 12 miles) to work every day. When Jha got a foot he walked after one hour. "In one month's time I could run and catch a bus." (Health, new inventions, amputees.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Cheer Up!
The women are elderly but they love cheerleading. They are 60 to 70 years old. The economy is weak in Japan but cheerleading is fun. (Hobbies, cheerleading and adjectives.)
Elementary
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Family Holidays
The family vacation has changed from the days when kids in the back of the station wagon pestered their parents in front with the unending refrain, "Are we there yet?". Experts say these days the family vacation often has three generations, and when it comes to [saying what to do], it's the kids in the driver's seat and the grandparents who pay. (Families, vacations, travel, brainstorming.)
Intermediate
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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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Making Up
The average British woman's cosmetic bag is out of date by ... four years, according to a study on Wednesday. Women are using cosmetics well past the use-by date. Debenhams asked 1,000 women aged 18 to 70 about the contents of their cosmetic bags and their understanding of the health considerations. (Makeup, consumer issues, expiry dates, surveys, doing a makeover.)
Intermediate
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Do Journalists Help?
"Can you help?". "Oh ... maybe the American soldiers or the Red Cross up there can." "No, can YOU help? I need YOU to help my baby." Veteran journalists from all round the world came to cover the disaster, and it was interesting to see how they handled the often unspoken question of how to help: whether to photograph or carry the wounded baby first. (Haiti, Natural disasters and the role of the media.)
Advanced
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"Generation XD"
They've never known a world without the Internet, but they still prefer to meet their friends offline. A new survey of eight to 14-year-old Europeans by U.S. company Walt Disney Co showed that the children of Generation X are web-savvy, videogame-playing environmentalists who love their parents.(Children, market research, values, interpreting figures.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Earthquakes
One of the health threats rescuers and doctors battle after an earthquake over the coming weeks and days is finding survivors trapped beneath rubble and treatment for people with major injuries. An average 10,000 deaths occur worldwide from earthquakes annually. About 18 major earthquakes (magnitude 7.0 to 7.9) and one great quake (8.0 or higher) hit in a typical year. (Earthquakes, natural disasters, Haiti, prefixes and word families)
Intermediate
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Spider Eyes
Eye doctors at a hospital in England have discovered why a man's eye was sore - there were spider hairs in it. Doctors in Australia have removed a spider from a man's stomach after the spider burrowed in and lived there for 3 days. (Spiders, dangerous animals, pets, sequencing, reference words.)
Elementary
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The "Lighthouse"
Sick of no morning sun in the kitchen? Is your sitting room too stifling to use on sunny afternoons? Read about a house that revolves to follow the sun. (Engineering, houses, inventions, New Zealand and Australia, idioms)
Upper-Intermediate
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Stolen Phones
Music-lovers watching their favorite acts at concerts are increasingly becoming targets for gangs of mobile phone thieves, British police said. Thieves who steal mobile phones may soon find them unusable and the phones will scream at them. (Crime, technology, cell phones, use of future form, 'going to'.)
Pre-Intermediate
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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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Goo Goo Ga Ga
The wail of a newborn may sound the same to the ears of sleep-deprived parents the world over, but according to scientists, that's not the case: Babies cry in the language their parents speak from the first days of life. (Babies, foetuses, human development, language degrees of certainty, could, might, definitely, likely.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Don't Kiss Santa
"Please don't kiss children or shake their hands." This is what a government website is telling Santa Claus. Santa Claus should try not to kiss children and shake their hands so he does not spread the flu. In Hungary Santa Claus comes on December 6 when children find gifts in shoes which they have put on window sills the night before. (Health and hygiene, H1N1 virus, flu, Santa Claus and festivals.)
Elementary
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Going Shopping
The Christmas rush is showing the problems of internet-only retailers as increasing orders cause delivery delays. Stores fight back. Spaniards will spend more while Germans plan to spend less on Christmas presents this year and will instead open their wallets to charities. (Shopping trends, gift-giving, Internet shopping, choosing a gift.)
Pre-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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No Twitter
Teen star Miley Cyrus quit Twitter on Thursday and then used a rap video to tell the world why she had suddenly quit. "Everything that I type, Everything that I do, some gossip site makes it news." In recent months, celebrity news sites have taken what Cyrus says on Twitter about her weight and her boyfriends and turned them into news stories. (Celebrities, Hannah Montana, music, celebrity gossip, Twitter, first and second conditionals.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Truck Stops
American diners are buying food from food trucks. Every Thursday night Lonnie Bishop and Lisa Case pay $5 for fancy hot dogs from a red food truck parked outside their favorite wine shop in Los Angeles. The new food trucks sell interesting and unusual food such as tacos with Korean barbecue meat, sushi, cupcakes. "I've eaten all over the world in three-star restaurants. I enjoy this...and I save a lot of money." (Eating habits, restaurants and food trucks, fast food, quantifiers.)
Elementary
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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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Snatched Gold Returned
The "Mother of Judo" waited 50 years to get the gold medal that was snatched from her in her first serious competition, a gender injustice that fueled Rusty Kanokogi's winning crusade for women's judo in the Olympics. "This should never, never happen to a woman again in sports," Kanokogi said about the rage she felt back in 1959. (Women in sport, discrimination, biography, judo.)
Advanced
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The Beatles Leap Online
"The Beatles: Rock Band," marks the legendary band's first leap into selling their music digitally leading to much speculation on which songs would be used. For years, the Beatles' catalog of songs has not been available anywhere on Web sites such as iTunes. (Video games, music, The Beatles, modal passives.)
Intermediate
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Health Clinic of Last Resort
Inside an aging sports arena thousands of Americans are seeking free healthcare. Hundreds were turned away on the first day of a weeklong clinic run by the nonprofit Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corp as part of its mission to provide free health, dental and eye care in needy spots around the world. (Medical charities, health care, health insurance, the suffix 'ologist'.)
Advanced
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Wedding Dress Record
A Chinese bride is hoping to enter the record books after getting married in a wedding dress with a train more than 2 km (1.2 miles). (Longest wedding dress in the world, wedding customs, discussion, role play, superlative adjectives, adjective order, romantic poems.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Preventing Flu Spread
Reports state frequent hand washing and the wearing of face masks at home can help reduce the transmission of influenza viruses within the household and closing schools, stopping large gatherings and other such measures are unlikely to do much to prevent the spread of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic. (Influenza, hygiene, swine flu, discourse markers, making a poster.)
Upper-Intermediate
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A River-Truck?
A 3-year-old boy was unhurt after he floated down a river riding on his toy truck. (Vacations, bizarre stories, camping, past simple and past continuous tenses, phonecalls.)
Elementary
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Gold For Race
Naoko Takahashi, winner of the 2000 Sydney Olympic marathon, says she would swap her gold medal to run at the 2016 Games if they are awarded to Tokyo. (Winning, hornets, sport, first and second conditionals.)
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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Operation Flower
A Tokyo district with lots of burglaries has turned to planting flowers to help stamp out crime. "'Operation Flower' began about three years ago. By planting flowers, people will be keeping an eye out while taking care of the flowers or watering them... The best way to prevent crime is to have more people on the lookout." (Fighting crime, neighborhood watch groups, miming, listening for numbers, listening to true or false statements, past simple tense verbs - making negatives, making a poster.)
Pre-Intermediate
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I Am Sorry!
A New York store owner stopped a robbery, but then helped the robber because he felt sorry for him. (Unemployment, crime, apologizing, saying sorry, infinitives of purpose.)
Elementary
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Modern American Dads Given a Raw Deal?
Author Michael Lewis says there really wasn't much difference between being a Salomon Brothers bond trader and becoming a father -- he was woefully ill-prepared for both jobs. Lewis writes candidly about initially feeling scant affection or love for his children and pokes fun at the modern American pact where fathers share child-rearing duties. (Parenting, being a father, male and female parent roles, giving definitions, listening and writing, sharing opinions.)
Advanced
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Interview Questions
When is it OK to lie? What would you do with 100 Christmas trees in July? If you were a cereal, what kind would you be? Knowing that those and other questions await in an employment interview could have a huge impact on a candidate's chances of landing a new job, a new website aims to provide that insight. (Job interviews and interview questions, second conditional, job application cover letters and ads.)
Intermediate
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Under Attack
It may affect as many as half of U.S. teenagers, can be as bad or worse than being beaten up in the schoolyard, and is so relentless and emotionally devastating that suicide can seem the only answer. Whether it is through emails, instant messaging, cellphones, texting or web sites, cyberbullying is a growing problem. This lesson looks at cyberbullying and bullying. (Bullying, notetaking, Internet research, comprehension.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Are You a Billionaire?
Warren Buffett is 86 years old. His salary is $100,000. He is worth about $73.5 billion. (Billionaire, Warren Buffett, personal information, present simple tense forms, be/have, completing a crossword.)
Elementary
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Pirates!
A new spate of hijackings by Somali pirates has shown they are determined to go on striking at shipping on the region's strategic trade routes despite intervention by Western and other navies. Multi-million-dollar superyachts sailing from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean for the European summer could be the next high-profile target of Somali pirates, security experts say. (Super yachts, piracy, choosing the correct headline, finding errors.)
Advanced
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Thinking Outside The Box
A $6 cardboard box that uses solar power to cook food, sterilize water and could help 3 billion poor people cut greenhouse gases, has won a $75,000 prize for ideas to fight global warming. (Poverty, global warming, inventions and competitions, will for future events.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Computer Whiz Kid
He's made headlines for his computer programing skills, but nine-year-old Singaporean Lim Ding Wen is only allowed to play with his desktop for just two hours a day, and provided he's finished his homework. (Computers, children and computers, ambitions, choose the best summary, complete a table, present perfect simple and past simple.)
Intermediate
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Need A Granny?
Do you need a granny's love and help? A unit caring for the elderly is helping elderly people find new families. Families who need a grandparent can hire a grandmother or grandfather. (Families, the elderly, discussion, matching sentence beginnings and endings.)
Elementary
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School For All
In a country where an education is often out of reach for thousands of impoverished children, the Kartini Emergency School in Indonesia is proving to be an exception. Amid the poverty and grime, 59-year-old twin sisters Sri Rossyati and Sri Irianingsih have opened the free school where their 550 students receive not only an education, but meals, a uniform, shoes, pencils and books. (Poverty, education, used to for habits.)
Upper-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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Homework For Sale
"You can't do it? We're here to help," says the homepage of a new website. The website allowed children the chance to buy answers ranging from solutions to simple maths problems to a full end-of-year presentation complete with slides and speaking notes.
Pre-Intermediate
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