Feb 21, 2013

From "As It Is"(VOA Special English News Program) 3

The religious leader surprised the Roman Catholic officials when he announced his resignation at the Vatican on Monday. He said he was no longer strong enough to carry out his duties as head of the World's largest Christian group.

The 85-year-old Pope told the Vatican officials that his health had worsened in recent month. He said he had to recognize what he called his "incapacity to adequately fulfill" the ministry entrusted to him. On Tuesday, the Vatican confirmed that Pope Benedict has had a pace maker for years to help control his heart-beat. 

Pope Benedict spoke to people gathered in St. Peter's Square last Sunday. He talked about peace, harmony and gratitude to Heaven. Few people knew that this would be one of the last times he would speak publicly as Pope.

Many people were shocked by the Pope's resignation. The head of Anglican church said he was of "heavy heart" after hearing the news.

In South Africa, the Archbishop of Pretoria said the continent's Catholics would remember the pope fondly. 

And Chief Rabbi of Israel said Pope Benedict had improved ties between Judaism and Christianity.

 President Obama and his wife Michel extended their thanks and prayers to the Pope. And 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Pope Benedict remains one of the most significant religious thinkers of our time.  

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Feb 16, 2013


On February 2, I climbed a mountain called "Kuroiwa-san"(黒岩山) in Kujyu(久住) area with my friends. Climbing a mountain in this cold season has become an annual event for us.

When we had started to climb, it was cloudy and temperature was a little bit cold. But, the weather had become fine, we could enjoy the great mountain view on the day. We walked from "Kuroiwa-san" to "Sensui-san"(泉水山) for about four hours.

After that, we had a dinner at a friend's log cabin. And we took a bath at "Kyusuikei onsen"(九酔渓温泉) on our way to home.

Feb 12, 2013

From "As It Is"(VOA Special English News Program) 2

The days of tall ship and white sails in the winds are gone. But piracy remains a problem in many places. The International Maritime Bureau says the gulf of Guinea now has some of the most dangerous waters in the world. Jerry Watson tells us more.

The IMB says there were 27 attacks in Nigerian waters last year. Only ten attacks were reported the year before. That makes the area the second most dangerous waterway for shippers after the coast of Somalia. The Somali area had a big decrease in pirate attacks last year. Still almost 70 attacks took place in 2012.

The director of International Maritime Bureau, Pottengal Mukundan, says in attacks of Somalia, for example, people are held a hostage for money. In West Africa, pirates take the cargoes on the ships. the goods that ships are carrying. 

"The most serious cases are those in which tankers-product tankers are hijacked in order to steal a part of the cargo. 

This theft of cargoes takes about 7 to 10 days. Then the ship and its crew are freed. Mr. Mukundan says this does not mean the piracy's victims in West Africa are always safe. Still, he says, officials can stop such attacks without threatening the crew. And he says pirate boats can be found from air without too much difficulty. 

The International Maritime Bureau blames increase in piracy on the lack of naval resources in the gulf. But some local people in Nigeria say growing discontent in the oil-rich Niger Delta causes piracy. 

Jackson Timiyan has a national group for young people in Niger Delta. He says young men become pirates because of their poor, and have no jobs. But poverty may not be the only cause of piracy. During the past 10 years, local armed group have attacked foreign and government oil interest. They demanded a share of wealth. The uprising ended with government giving amnesty to tens of thousand of militants.  

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My thought/opinion on this issue
I have learned the term, "Niger Delta" through this program. There are several place in Africa where oil-rich places have caused conflicts, such as Southern Sudan. I am sorry that "interest" leads "violence".

Feb 9, 2013

”Nakuna, Hara-chan”

Recently, I enjoy a TV drama called "Nakuna, Hara-chan"(泣くな、はらちゃん). Nagase Tomoya(長瀬 智也) has played a good character in the program, I think. I love this song sung in it and I often sing it these days.

I recommend you to watch the program If you have a chance to see Japanese TV programs.

Feb 4, 2013

From "As It Is" (VOA Special English News Program) 1

China has been receiving a lot of international attention because of its air pollution. But, now many Chinese are discussing another environmental concern, water pollution.  Steve Ember has more about the debate of the country's water quality.

Official reports have shown that China has about 1,700 water pollution accidents a year. Report also showed up to 40 percent of the country's rivers are seriously polluted. In China's capital, Beijing, the city government is just starting to release information about water quality.

Zhao Feihong is a water researcher at the Beijing Health Care Association . Her husband is also a water researcher. She says they have not used the city's water supply for drinking water in 20 years. She says it is good that Beijing officials are beginning to tell people how clean their drinking water is.

"The fact that it can be disclosed is an improvement for the common people who better understand water that they drink. So this is relatively good thing, but I think that publicizing this figure is not enough."

Zhao Feihong says the city government should do more than report on water quality every three month. She wants officials to tell people immediately what to do if something affects to drinking water. 

Hao Yungang lives in Beijing. He took pictures of a strange looking material the water left in his home. He later put the pictures on the social media site, Weibo.

"I did not anticipate that the level of interest would be so high. But these days, people have higher and higher expectation about the quality of life, whether it is water, food safety, pollution or even traffic." 

Hao Yungang says he believes officials who say Beijing's water is safe where it starts. But he is not sure about what happens between the water treatment center and his home.

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*I had downloaded a short news from VOA Special English Program for a long time. But, recently, VOA has changed its news program, so I could not do same thing as I had done. From now, I am trying a new style, so I download a news from VOA's news program, "As It is", and transcribe it into Japanese..