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Instant Lesson

"Hello, is that Travel Dot Com?"
Online travel booking was meant to save businesses money, and make the whole process easy and painless. However, some problems have emerged, and business people are again reaching for the phone to make travel arrangements the old-fashioned way. (Business travel, online business, discussion, travel vocabulary, finding the main idea, sequencing, ranking and listing activity, Internet research.)
Upper-Intermediate
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A Healthy Diet?
A Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, nuts, fish and fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent heart disease and strokes, says a large study from Spain. (Healthy diets, food vocabulary, reading for the main idea, scanning, true or false, crossword puzzle, What Is It?, countable and uncountable nouns game.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Safe Food
A plastic tag could soon stop people worrying about whether food has gone bad and isn't safe to eat. (Freshness of food and a new invention, vocabulary, discussion, comprehension, sequencing, true or false, the suffix -ness, word find puzzle, word order exercise and interview.)
Elementary
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Healthy Tea
A tea lover has released a book on throwing tea parties. A study of over 3,400 adults in Saudi Arabia - a country of tea-lovers - found that people who drank more than 6 cups of tea per day had a more than 50% lower risk of coronary heart disease compared to tea abstainers. (Benefits of drinking tea, survey, true or false, meanings in context, completing information, headlines, role play.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Coffee - A Complex Brew
Angela Holder does not swallow her coffee at work. In scenes redolent of a wine-tasting session, she slurps it, swishes it around her mouth and noisily spits it out. She 'cups' coffee. (Coffee tasting, coffee market, coffee, Make a choice Game, coffee knowledge quiz, reading for the main idea, multiple choice questions, reading about a process, Talking about coffee or tea Game, descriptive writing, finishing an ad.)
Advanced
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Blind Date
"Blind restaurant an eye-opener for London diners." Dining in a completely dark room, unaware what's on your plate while sitting next to a complete stranger may not sound like an ideal restaurant experience but it's certainly an intriguing way to spend a rainy night in London. (food, five senses)
Intermediate
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Business Travelers Can't Afford to Skip Breakfast
Corporate travelers need to be alert and ready to deal from the moment they wake up. So, skipping breakfast is not recommended, nutritionists say. (Business travel, business culture, importance of breakfast, nutrition, quiz, reading for the main idea, reading and comparing, finding ideas, functional language - ordering from a menu, apologizing and greeting, summarizing, dialogue, find someone who...)
Upper-Intermediate
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Boardroom Equality in Norway
Norway said it would force companies to guarantee that at least 40 percent of board members are women. The proposal also says that at least 40 percent of board members have to be men. (Business, gender issues, quotas, direct speech to indirect speech.)
Upper-Intermediate
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No More Embarrassment
A London clinic is charging stressed professionals $5,680 to drill a hole in their armpits, snip away their nerve endings and eliminate their blushes for good. (Blushing, operations, predicting from headlines, comprehension, simple past verb forms, working out meanings from context.)
Intermediate
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Blondes Earn Less
"Blondes Earn Less"! Can it be true? Well, according to research in Iceland, it is! (Pay rates, personal appearance, Iceland, Descriptions - what do they look like?)
Elementary
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Blondes
After listening to her boss repeatedly call her a "dumb blonde" in front of colleagues, a Brazilian woman sued him and won $1,300 in moral damages plus recognition that she was unduly fired -- which paves the way for more compensation. (discrimination, racism, C.V writing, dictagloss, adjectives used to talk about personal qualities and skills)
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced
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A Bad Job Interview
You know your job interview did not go well when your interviewer calls the police to arrest you. (Bizarre crime stories, job interviews, finish the sentence, sequencing, categorizing vocabulary, comprehension, write a headline, role play, word find puzzle, complete a picture, giving advice - you should / you shouldn't / don't forget to... )
Pre-Intermediate
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Looking Up
Tall people earn considerably more money throughout their lives than their shorter coworkers, with each inch adding about $789 a year in pay, according to a new study. (Successful people, employment, sharing points of view, completing a table, scrambled words, true, false or not given, words made with 'short', talking about employment problems and problem solving game.)
Intermediate
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Cold and Flu
Scratchy throats, stuffy noses and body aches all spell misery, but being able to tell if the cause is a cold or flu may make a difference in how long the misery lasts. (Health, colds and influenza, signs and symptoms, remedies, present simple active and passive, zero conditional.)
Intermediate
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Scientists Go Back to the Future
British scientists hope to exhume the body of a young woman who died in the 1918 influenza pandemic to examine the virus that claimed up to 40 million lives worldwide. (Flu, pandemics, true/ false/not mentioned, verbs that take the infinitive or -ing forms, discussion.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Delivering The Mail
This is about postalworkers who won't deliver the mail when it's too cold and postalworkers using scooters to deliver mail. (Transport, mail, jobs, addressing, France, Canada, the weather, the present simple, the present continuous.)
Elementary
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The Most Powerful Man In Music
The new album is nearly here, and U2's lead singer Bono is the most powerful man in music, and not just because of his singing, says a poll of top music business people. (Bono and U2, music and politics, reading for overall understanding, reading for detail, true or false, because, gap fill, word find puzzle.)
Elementary
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Loans for Hope
Maqsood is one of more than 1,600 beneficiaries of a micro-credit program launched by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Afghanistan. The program provides interest-free loans to disabled Afghans eager to start their own small-sized businesses. There is also an interview with the founder of SPBD, a microfinance organisation in Samoa. (Microeconomics, microfinance, Afghanistan, jigsaw reading, vocabulary in context, comprehension, past perfect, synonyms, discussion.)
Intermediate
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Happy Birthday!
Fifty came with a televised bash, celebrity friends and a black-tie dinner, but Oprah Winfrey is having a low-key 60th birthday at home in California. Bill Clinton, turning 60, hated being so old. (Birthays, listening comprehension, talking about birthday celebrations, scanning, writing questions, jigsaw reading, Grammar - the present continuous to describe an action in progress.)
Upper-Intermediate
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AK-47
Famous! Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47 rifle, said he was proud of developing the rifle but wishes he'd designed something to help people instead - like a lawnmower... or... (Weaponry, inventions, discussion, word order, reading for detail, the structure "I wish I had..." crossword.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Party Time!
Famous! Britain's second richest man spent $17.5 million on a party for 600 guests on a luxury liner. He is known for being very careful with his money, but he treated his guests to a week of luxury living and exclusive entertainment. (Entertaining friends, parties, Britain's second richest man, prediction, true or false, verbs 'spend' and 'sell', crossword.)
Elementary
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ATM Thieves
There has been a huge increase in Japan in the number of robbers using large diggers to remove automated teller machines (ATMs) from the lobbies of banks. (Bizarre crimes, construction and crime, vocabulary, matching pictures and words, predicting from the headline, main idea, reading for detail, reading carefully, before / after + -ing, pair crossword, gap fill.)
Elementary
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Hiss!
The world's longest snake - perhaps. Also, snake pits in Canada! (Snakes, nature, Canada, tourism, punctuation, 'used to / be used to' and gerunds.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Two Courageous Dudes
One guy saved his mate from a crocodile and the other went for help for his father, even though he was badly injured. (Bravery, crocodiles, awards, past continuous and past simple, using past tense verbs to tell a story.)
Intermediate
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The Shape of Things to Come
A shiny white pod that has begun road tests may well be the taxi of the future. The pod, known as ULTra -- Urban Light Transport -- could make driver-free transport a reality and not just the stuff of futuristic fantasy. (Public transport, transport problems, technology, the future, summarizing, definite and indefinite articles.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Survey Results 'Too Good'
When customers of utility company Southern California Edison were surveyed to get feedback, pollsters received answers expressing delight at the service received. But the objectivity of these results came under question when it was learned that employees had surveyed friends and family! (Customer surveys, utility companies, hacking, discussion, comprehension, sequencing, true, false or not given, passive, conditionals, listening for differences.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Children's Toys
Tamagotchi are back, more complex than ever, with an infrared communication function allowing them to visit each other and even reproduce! This lesson also looks and toys and toy issues, including the 2001 reaction of toy sellers to 9/11. (Christmas, birthdays, war toys, toys, present simple and present continous tenses, the present continuous used to talk about a current trend.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Mothers and Daughters
Mothers exasperated by petty arguments with their teenage daughters should take heart from new research showing that arguing may actually be good for relationships with moody offspring. Research shows that arguments are often used by teens as a communication tool. (Mother - daughter relationships, writing questions, understanding the main idea, reading for specific information, understanding new vocabulary, finding key information, should / have to / don't have to, information exchange game.)
Intermediate
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A Micro $4 Billion
Muhammad Yunus, 63, is the founder of Grameen Bank, which has made more than $4 billion in tiny loans to poor Bangladeshis, providing a lifeline for millions and a banking model that has been copied in more than 100 nations from the United States to Uganda. (Microfinance, microcredit, Bangladesh, problem solving, reading and predicting, general knowledge, comprehension, multiple choice, jigsaw reading, identifying present and past tenses, pair crossword.)
Intermediate
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Fishy Milk?
Some landlocked Canadian cows are enjoying a little seafood with their hay and grain so they can produce a new kind of milk being touted for its benefits for the brain, eyes and nerves. (Modified foods, diet, fish, nutrition, discussion, comprehension, meanings in context, true or false, prepositions, design a poster, dialogue build.)
Intermediate
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Here Come The Ants!
German children are going to pet shops because they want to buy ants. (Ants, pets, discussion, predicting, comprehension, language - making questions, listening carefully, completing a table, pair crossword, dictation.)
Elementary
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Global Bicycle Thieves
Amsterdam police will use bicycles equipped with hidden GPS transmitters to bait thieves and track them down in the latest effort to stamp out rampant bike theft. (Theft, GPS, Amsterdam, discussion, predicting from the headline, guessing meanings from context, mixed questions, completing a table of information, true, false or not given, words used as nouns and verbs, word search puzzle.)
Intermediate
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Brrrrrrrr!
Some 300 racers took the plunge in this year's world icepool swimming championship in the Arctic north of Finland. "The feeling is difficult to describe," said Kari Farlin, 45, dressed in a fur hat and swimsuit after racing in water of one degree Celsius. (Bizarre sports, championships and festivals, swimming, Finland, discussion, making questions, multiple choice questions, information exchange game - world championships, sport crossword, suffixes: -er and -or.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Cyber Crime
This is about a plan where high-tech companies and companies involved in ecommerce joined the FBI to use encrypted e-mail and a secure Web site to warn each other about new hacking attempts, computer viruses and other Internet-based criminal activity. (Internet crime, hacking, ecommerce, the FBI, verb agreements)
Upper-Intermediate
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Truant Text Warning!
This is about how children at a Singapore school need to think twice about playing truant: The school has set up a mobile phone text message broadcast system which automatically alerts their parents!
Intermediate
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Electronic Junk Mail
As the volume of email spam hits epidemic proportions, the makers of Internet security products are taking notice. (Email spam and anti-spam products, understanding the main idea, vocabulary work, multiple-choice questions, true or false, reading gap fill, dialogue share your opinion.)
Advanced
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Increase in Internet Users in China
The number of Internet users in China made its highest recorded jump to reach 137 million at the end of 2006, a 2007 report has said. (Use of the Internet, China, saying numbers aloud, predicting, reading for gist, true or false, ordinal numbers, word find, survey.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Young Smokers Find A Way
Restrictions on the sale of tobacco to minors may be prompting more teenage smokers to steal cigarettes or get them from parents and older friends, according to a U.S. study of student smoking habits in Texas. (Minors and smoking, anti-tobacco laws, scanning, completing a table, matching figures with information, true or false, prepositions, describing increases and decreases, cloze listening, discussion.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Is Ecotourism Too Popular?
Ecotourism is taking its toll on wildlife and may be endangering the survival of the very animals people are flocking to see, according to researchers. (Ecotourism and its impact on wildlife, animal quiz, talking about animals, predicting, completing a table, check your understanding, true, false or not given, the present continuous, jigsaw reading, crossword.)
Intermediate
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Beware of FrankenFish!
The vegetation grows thick in this dark-watered pond, hiding all that swims beneath. It could double as the set for the 1950s movie classic "Creature from the Black Lagoon." In a way it does, for the dreaded land-crawling, all-eating snakehead fish lives here. (Snakehead fish, eradication program, listening gap fill, writing questions, reading for detail, discussion, non-defining relative clauses.)
Advanced
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Extra Jail for Smoker
For a 73-year-old Canadian man, 20 months in a smoke-free jail looked just too long, so instead he took 24 months in a prison where he can smoke cigarettes. (Smoking issues, discussion, understanding the main idea, comprehension, choose the best answer, regular and irregular simple past tense verbs, nouns - nationalities and languages.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Changing Careers
Boardroom lunches and presentations to high-flying British executives were routine for Martin during his 15 years as a management consultant. Now his lunch break is spent supervising school dinners and he gives presentations to his hardest audience yet -- geography students at a London school. (Teaching vs business as a career, job satisfaction, interview - attitudes to work, writing questions, complete a table, making comparisons between things that are not equal or the same, peer dictation.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Losing Success
A Japanese racehorse, who is famous because she has lost so many races, lost another race. (Horseracing, winning and losing, Seabiscuit, sports, matching questions and answers, finding information, choose the best answer, discussion, positive adjectives, in or on (time), questionnaire on sports and famous sportspeople.)
Elementary
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CEOs and Workers
Never having cleaned a bathroom in his life, a CEO was down on his knees, scrubbing with great effort but little interest, under the watchful eye of his supervisor. He was one of several CEOs to get down and dirty for a week's worth of labor in the new reality-based show "Now Who's Boss?". (Reality television, CEOs, entertainment, discussion, finding the main idea, reading for specific information, completing a table of information, matching information, like as a preposition and as a verb.)
Intermediate
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Business Trip Mothers
It is a tough emotional decision every work-trip mom faces: will being away doing a deal damage her relationship with her children, as some studies show, or, as many professional moms say, will their children be more well-rounded individuals and less prone to separation anxiety. (Business travel, career and family, women, personality quiz, choosing the best headline, completing a table of information, true, false or not given, gerunds, Same Or Different listening Game, discussion.)
Advanced
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Move Over, Karaoke
Frustrated actors have a new outlet for their creative urges that until now was only available to their singing cousins -- Movieoke, Karaoke's cinematic sibling. (Movieoke, entertainment, skimming, comprehension, completing a flowchart, true, false or not given, guessing vocabulary using the context, a,an,the, checking a summary, matching game - famous lines from movies, survey.)
Intermediate
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Dog Show Intrigue
Something sinister is troubling Britain's genteel world of dog-showing, and at the center of it all lies one question: Who called Mrs Mann a "puppy farmer?" Hate mail is circulating, threats have been made over the phone, Mann - the country's top show judge - has resigned. (Gossip and scandal, dogshows, brainstorming and planning, whisper campaign, understanding main idea, completing table of information, categorizing words, comprehension, interview, quotations about gossip, word formation.)
Advanced
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Angry Head and Heart
Men prone to angry tantrums or sulky hostility are more likely to develop an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, U.S. researchers reported. (Anger, emotions, scanning, checking information, scanning, matching words and meaning, checking information, summarizing, information exchange activity, survey, likely and unlikely.)
Intermediate
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Golden Wool
Two Australian sheep farmers have produced the world's finest wool. (Farming, wool, sheep, fashion, animals, superlative adjectives, active and passive voices in simple present tense, comprehension, fill the gaps, Animal Game, true or false, Agricultural Products Game.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Global Warming Threat
Global warming poses a greater long-term threat to humanity than terrorism because it could force hundreds of millions from their homes and trigger an economic catastrophe, Canadian Environment Minister David Anderson said. (Global warming, terrorism, threats, ranking, understanding the main idea, scanning, comprehension, understanding points of view, direct and indirect speech, giving opinions, game - indirect speech, writing a poem using prompts.)
Upper-Intermediate
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