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Instant Lesson

"Bug Out"
The Department of Health in New York has lots of bed bugs. The new $316 million building in Queens has bed bugs, the Health Department said. (Staying healthy, insects, expressions of quantity.)
Elementary
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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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Testing The Littlest
A national push to make public schools more rigorous and hold teachers more accountable has led to a vast expansion of testing in kindergarten. And more exams are on the way, including a test meant to determine whether 5-year-olds are on track to succeed in college and career. (Exams for kids, summarizing, scanning, giving your opinion)
Advanced
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Leftovers
Xu Jiajie has gone on countless blind dates and to numerous match-making events in search of a husband. At 31 she is under enormous pressure to get married. But the right man is hard to find, for urban, educated and well-paid Chinese women in a society where the husband's social status is traditionally above the wife's. (China, professional women, linking words, words for discourse markers.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Super Hero
He wears a green Power Rangers suit and a mask. He waits by the stairs of a Tokyo subway station. He helps old people, passengers with heavy packages and mothers with baby strollers. He is a superhero. (Helping other people, Tokyo, superheroes, prepositions of place, simple past tense - negatives and rules.)
Elementary
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Record Chat
Popular Norwegian crime writer Hans Olav Lahlum set the world record for the longest interview on Thursday after spending more than 30 non-stop hours chatting in an online television broadcast.(World records, interviews, superlative adjectives, nationality suffixes.)
Pre-Intermediate  Lesson Updated: 8 August 2013
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Bugs, Bites and Parasites
The tourist who got more than she bargained for on an overseas holiday and a cheap natural therapy for arthritis has been recommended by scientists - hirudo medicinalis, or more simply, leeches. (Arthritis and treatments, leeches, maggots, could for possibility, ability and requesting,reading for detail, guessing words by context, 'affect' and 'effect', medical vocabulary, dialog and essay writing.)
Upper-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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Not To Your Taste?
President Barack Obama likes burgers, hot dogs and such, but when it came time to answer a question about his favorite food, broccoli was the first word that sprang from his lips. Former American President George Bush Sr.'s famous dislike of broccoli might be put down to the fact that he could be a "supertaster". (Predicting using a headline, writing questions, summarizing the text, metaphors, writing a report, prepositions, future - will for predictions.)
Intermediate
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Room Service Cleared Away
Soon, the black-uniformed waiters wheeling trolleys of food will disappear from the halls of the Hilton Midtown. Will visitors to New York City's largest hotel mind having to leave their rooms for sustenance? (Hotels, New York, phrasal verbs and collocation.)
Upper-Intermediate
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A Female Draft
Norway's parliament voted overwhelmingly to conscript women into its armed forces, becoming the first European and first NATO country to make military service compulsory for both genders. (Women's rights and gender equality, army, reported speech, the passive.)
Intermediate
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Old and Older
Two years short of 70, Zhang Guosheng spends his days caring for an 81-year-old fellow villager - a routine he'll keep up until he himself needs the type of care he is now giving. "Living here is better than staying at home alone. We help each other and have a common language," said the spritely Zhang, an enthusiastic dancer. "We are very happy here." (Aging, China, care of the elderly.)
Advanced
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Party Bribes
Sometime on Sunday morning, a Pennsylvania high school student will be presented with the keys to a black Honda Civic just for going to a party after the school's annual prom dance. Schools and civic organizations are using extravagant prizes to encourage high school students to attend supervised, alcohol-free events after their annual high school proms to keep them away from wild private parties. (Proms, teenage social behavior, pair crossword.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Medical Trips
Sitting in a private clinic in an upscale neighborhood of Istanbul, Salem is preparing to leave Turkey with a smile on his face and more hair on his head. Having been to Istanbul for sightseeing and shopping, Saleh has returned as the new kind of high-spending visitor Turkey is increasingly seeking to attract: a medical tourist. (Medical tourism, Turkey, plastic surgery.)
Advanced
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Sorry Red Bull
Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel apologized in person to Red Bull staff for ignoring team orders in a controversial Malaysian Grand Prix. (Formula one, winning in sport, team sports, collocation.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Tattoo Me Too!
Do the Obama daughters want tattoos? Probably not. Their father told "Today" show how the Obama parents are keeping their daughters away from tattoos. (Tattoos, different viewpoints on tattooing, first and second conditional)
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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A Holiday Fix?
A dentist's office may not be everyone's idea of a perfect holiday destination. But a growing number of Europeans are traveling abroad for medical treatment to save money, or maybe to combine a visit to the doctor with some sightseeing. "It was simply cheaper for me to go to a dentist in Hungary," said a 42-year-old physical therapist from Berlin. (Medical tourism, health, tourism, debating.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Travel Plans
When Robert Reid last visited London he stayed in an apartment he found on a "couch-surfing" site. "The people were super and it gave me a great outlook on London and I appreciate the city more than I did before." People visiting cities in particular are now choosing to stay in residential apartments and live like locals. (Role play, skimmimg, scanning, intensive reading, discussion)
Advanced
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Beauty Treatments?
Hollywood stars wanting to look their best for Tinseltown's biggest night of the year are being offered beauty treatments ranging from the lavish to plain loony such as $250,000 black diamond nail varnish and bird excrement facials. (Beauty treatments and products, influence of consumers on manufacturers, zero conditionals.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Diamond Gifts
A piece of Antarctica named after her, a baby llama, tea from Sri Lanka and her own set of Olympic medals were just some of the gifts Britain's Queen Elizabeth received during her 2012 diamond jubilee year. Foreign leaders,... luxury goods businesses and members of the public gave the British queen a treasure trove of gifts. (Gift giving, jubilees, superlative adjectives.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Cough Cough
The gap between how long people expect their cough to last and how long it actually does may drive some to the doctor for antibiotics that won't help, according to a new study. (Treatment of ailments and antiobiotics, doctors, remedies, modal verbs, "...by + verb+ing...")
Upper-Intermediate
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Chore Monster
Forget bribery, intimidation and threats, a new app is designed to encourage children to do chores by turning the tasks into a game and giving them points when it is completed. The app called ChoreMonster, available for iOS devices and on the web, aims to make household chores, such as setting the table, feeding the pets or unloading the dishwasher, fun. (Chores, families, children and parents, giving advice, should/shouldn't.)
Intermediate
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Man Without Hat
Singer-actor Rain is in trouble because he didn't wear his army hat. Rain was on a date with actress and model, Kim Tae-Hee. He was wearing his army uniform, but not his army hat. (Singers, South Korea, Kim Tae-Hee and Rain).
Elementary
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When I'm Old .....
Liu Qianping was visiting his 24-year-old granddaughter in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou when he saw the women's clothes [that his] granddaughter was packing into boxes. His visit came as the model that Lu Ting and four friends had booked for a photo shoot suddenly canceled. (Fashion, old age, retirement, first and second conditional, poem, "shall".)
Pre-Intermediate
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Life and death on India's Network
As the Kalka Mail train pulls into Delhi railway station at dawn, it is every man, woman and child for themselves. Before the train has stopped, crowds elbow and jostle into packed compartments destined for Kolkata, 1,500 km (930 miles) and 25 hours away on one of the largest, most decrepit and dangerous rail networks in the world. (Train travel, business investment, India, descriptive verbs.)
Advanced
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Fly for a Hobby
Wealthy Chinese are itching to take up flying as a hobby, but high taxes and military controls on airspace are grounding the aviation industry's hopes of a sales boom. (China, flying a plane, aviation vocabulary, matching and listening game, functional language - booking an air ticket, requesting, apologizing, socializing, air travel vocabulary.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Giving Kids
Not long after the megastorm Sandy hit the northeast United States, Maryum Goodwin and her little girl Ryleigh, 6, saw a disturbing picture of the New Jersey shore devastation. "That's somebody's house?" Ryleigh asked. "It used to be," said Maryum. That moment got Ryleigh thinking about how she could help. (Teaching children about giving, charities, disasters, past perfect)
Intermediate
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Golden Tree
Do you want a special gift for Christmas? A jewelry store in Tokyo has a gold revolving tree. The tree is made of 40 kilograms of gold. (Gold, Christmas trees, shopping language, questions in the past simple tense.)
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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Animal Apps
Humans aren't the only species on the planet with a penchant for electronic gadgets. Zookeepers across the United States and Canada are discovering that apes also get excited about apps. 12 zoos have been incorporating iPads into the enrichment time allotted for orangutans, the giant furry red primates native to Indonesia and Malaysia. (Orangutans, animals, using technology and apps, participles as adjectives.)
Intermediate
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What's For Dinner
Anyone looking to expand their culinary horizons beyond steak and potatoes or spaghetti may find inspiration in a new app that provides recipes based on what is already stocked in the refrigerator. (New apps for computers, cooking and food, will + infinitive used for future.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Greek Mosquitos
Just when it seems things couldn't get any worse for Greece, the exhausted and indebted country has a new threat to deal with: mosquito-borne diseases. Species of the blood-sucking insects that can carry exotic-sounding tropical infections like malaria, West Nile Virus, chikungunya and dengue fever are enjoying the extra bit of warmth climate change is bringing to parts of southern Europe. (Malaria, Greece, health system, disease and prevention control).
Advanced
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Crazy For Coffee
These days, when you are walking along the streets of southern Seoul, you are just as likely to smell the fragrance of fresh-brewed coffee as that of kimchi or more traditional Korean foods and a specially frothy kind of milk from New Zealand, great for cappuccinos. (Coffee drinking, business, Korea, Starbucks, role play: running a cafe).
Intermediate
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Nasty Parasites
Parasites look set to become more virulent because of climate change, according to a study showing that frogs suffer more infections from a fungus when exposed to unexpected swings in temperatures. (Parasites, climate change, frogs, reported quesitons.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Elephant Escapes
An elephant trainer has taken two elephants back to the circus after they walked along a busy Copenhagen street and an elephant escaped from New Zealand's Auckland Zoo after she dropped a log on an electrified fence and pushed through a gate. (Elephants, zoos - benefits and disadvantages, sequencing, a / an / the, writing a headline, pair crossword, present perfect.)
Elementary
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Runners Hit the Road
As budgets tighten and working lives get more stressful, running is experiencing a boom as people hit the parks and streets of their cities to escape from it all and keep themselves healthy for just the cost of a pair of sneakers. (Running, fitness, understanding statistics, role play on buying a pair of shoes.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Free Medicine for All
For Ramaiyah Venkat, the two-hour bus journey to get free insulin is worth it even if he has to queue for hours at the dispensary and sometimes gets less than he needs. Tamil Nadu is one of two Indian states offering free medicine for all. (Scanning, reported and indirect speech)
Advanced
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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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Sports Bill No Laughing Matter
Jodi Furman likes to joke that she should paint her minivan yellow. That's because she basically turns into a taxi driver in the afternoons and on weekends, as she delivers her three children to various sports practices in Palm Beach, Florida. But the bill for all those sports is no laughing matter. (Families, sport, do, play or go.)
Intermediate
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Annoying Noises
Which noise is more distracting - a child whining or a table saw? Making a noise while unwrapping a lolly at the movies can't be helped! (Whining and children, scientific research, unwrapping candies in theaters, referencing, adverbs)
Upper-Intermediate
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Reading Helps Prisoners Escape
Prisoners in four prisons can read up to 12 books every year and shorten their sentence in prison by up to 48 days, the government said. (Prisons, reading, benefits of reading.)
Elementary
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Olympic "Wild Card"
Spectators loved these very slow athletes at the Olympics. Find out why in this mini-lesson. (Rowing, swimming, Africa, Niger, Olympic games, Olympic spirit.)
Intermediate
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Japan pocket Terminator
Don't let the fluffy socks fool you. Pint-sized Japanese wrestler Saori Yoshida could just be the most fearsome athlete in any sport at this year's London Olympics. (Wrestling, Japan, Summer Olympics)
Pre-Intermediate
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Olympian "Makes a Splash"
Cullen Jones was five when he almost drowned but rather than live in fear of water the American jumped back in with both feet, overcoming his fears to become an Olympic swimming gold medalist and drive a campaign to slash the drowning rate in the United States. (Swimming, the Olympics, matching sentence endings.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Youngest Swimming Champion?
Ye Shiwen, a 16-year-old swimmer, from China may win a gold medal in London. When she was a young girl, a [kindergarten] teacher saw she had bigger hands and legs than other children. (Olympics, Ye Shiwen, swimming, sport vocabulary, comparatives and superlatives.)
Elementary
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Sports Rights
The image of 24-year-old Nour Fitiany resting courtside as the pounding of basketballs and thumping of feet reverberated around her wouldn't merit a second glance in most countries. But in Saudi Arabia, where girls are banned from sports in state schools, powerful clerics castigate women for exercising and female gyms must adhere to strict regulations, Fitiany's ambition to play basketball - let alone represent her country in international tournaments - is a bold political statement.
Advanced
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Olympic Opening Ceremony
London's Olympic Stadium will be [turned] into a British meadow complete with fields, cows, ducks, a horse-drawn plough and a game of village cricket for the opening ceremony of this year's summer Games. (Olympic Games, opening ceremony, England.)
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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