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 Women and Work: Saudi ArabiaA business woman walks into a hotel. A young girl welcomes her. She is the hotel receptionist. She asks the business woman to sign some payment forms. Then the hotel worker gives the woman her room keys. The business woman smiles. She likes staying here. The young hotel worker turns to welcome the next customer - also a woman. In fact, there are no men here all. This is a women-only hotel! The Luthan Hotel lies in Saudi Arabia's capital city - Riyadh. It is the kingdom's first women-only hotel! The hotel workers are women. The customers are women. And the owners are women! Part of the idea is to create a place where women can be at ease. They do not have to keep their heads covered as they do in front of men. They do not have to depend on male family members to take them to the hotel, or to organize their stay. And the women are free to use all the hotel services all the time - like the swimming pool, exercise room and spa. In normal hotels, women can only use these services at particular times.
The Luthan hotel opened in 2008. And it already has the support of many business women. Saudi Arabia has rules that limit women from travelling alone. Until recently, women could not get a room in a hotel without a signed letter of permission from a male family member. Ms Homoud remembers a bad experience she had when travelling alone. She flew to Jeddah for a meeting. But she forgot to take her father's letter - saying he permitted her to go. She tells how the hotel refused to give her a room without the letter. And that it was late at night. Ms Hamoud had to telephone a male friend. He got the room for her in his business' name. Bad experiences like this do not happen in a women-only hotel. There are other reasons why women like the Luthan Hotel. Business women welcome a place where they can do business without men around. They see the Luthan as a sign of progress. It is enabling them to work and rest without male restrictions.
But not everyone sees it in this way. Some women do not support the idea of a female-only hotel. They worry that in the future, it may bring more restrictions in the country. There are already laws that stop men and women mixing together. What if the law-makers decide to make all hotels male-only or female-only? What if all public places become like this? There would increase the divides between men and women even more.
The Luthan Hotel is just one of many 'female only' places in Saudi Arabia. There are banks with female-only branches. There is a whole block of stores that are women only. And there are even plans for a female only university!
It will be the largest of its kind - with room for forty thousand students. There are high hopes for the university. Some people say it will offer subjects that are usually difficult for women to study, in a male governed society. Women with greater skills could go on to help develop Saudi Arabia's economy. UNESCO is the United Nation's group concerned with education. It says that almost sixty percent of Saudi students are female. Yet only 16% of the Saudi workforce are women! Yet the percentage of women in education is more than three times this number! Hotels and universities for women exist in many parts of the world because some women prefer them. But the idea is new in Saudi Arabia. What are your thoughts on female-only places in Saudi Arabia? Are they opening the door to employment and freedom for women? Or, are they simply a different kind of restriction? The English are fat and want to live in France
This week our government published a report on how healthy we English are. There was some good news. The number of people who smoke has continued to fall. We live longer than any previous _______________. Deaths of young children are the lowest ever. But there was bad news too. We English are fat and are getting fatter. About two-thirds of men are overweight, and about 60% of women. We are fatter than any other nation in Europe.
Why? Many English people eat food with lots of __________ and ___________. We love chips, ___________and doughnuts, potato crisps and chocolate. We drink too much _____________. We don't eat enough __________________ and _______________. We watch _____________on TV, but we don't take any exercise ourselves. But in the last year we have become more aware that our national diet is not good and that things need_____________. Jamie Oliver is a _________chef with his own TV programme. Last year he showed us how bad the food is that we serve to our children in schools. Many people were shocked and angry. So the __________ has banned (запретило) vending machines (автоматы) selling crisps and sweets from schools. Many schools have tried to make their school dinners _____________. Of course, some people don't like the government telling them what to eat. There are parents who buy their children bags of chips through the school gates at lunch time.
And how does France come into this? Well, a survey(исследование) was also published this week which suggested that about a third of British people would like live in __________, while only about a quarter think that Britain is the best place to live. France is undoubtedly very popular with many English people.
Why do we like so much? Perhaps it is the food, or the wine, or springtime in Paris. And perhaps we like French footballers like Thierry Henry, and French _______________. And this is strange, because the French themselves often have a pessimistic view of their country and its problems. But we English don't care about that. We are fat, perhaps the __________ people in Europe. And we want ____________ to France to eat more food, drink more wine, sit in the sunshine and get even fatter.
Insert the given words:
to change, film stars, France, healthier, to move, football, fattest, fresh fruit, fat, generation, burgers, vegetables, sugar, alcohol, well-known, government.
Harry Potter Somewhere in England, there is a very special building. There are security guards with dogs. Everyone who wants to go in or out is searched and has to show a security pass. Is this a secret place? Or a prison for specially dangerous prisoners? Or a place for storing something very valuable, like gold, or something very dangerous, like guns ?
No, it is the warehouse where copies of the new Harry Potter book - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" - are stored. Late tomorrow, big trucks will arrive at the warehouse. The books will be loaded onto the trucks, and taken to bookshops and supermarkets all over the country. Because Saturday is the Big Day. Saturday is the day when the new Harry Potter book will be published.
Who is Harry Potter? Did someone say, "Who is Harry Potter?" What planet do you live on? Everyone knows about Harry Potter. He is a teenage wizard, who attends a special school for wizards called Hogwarts. Together with his friends Ron and Hermione, he struggles wih the forces of evil. J K Rowling's books about Harry Potter are some of the most successful books ever written. When the previous Harry Potter book was published, two million copies of it were sold in the first 24 hours. This time, the publishers have printed 3 million copies, and will print even more if the book sells well. And, of course, the book will be translated into many other languages.
So next Saturday - which is the first day of the school summer holidays in England - the new Harry Potter book will go on sale. People will buy it at bookshops and supermarkets. In our family, we will need to buy 3 or 4 copies, because we cannot agree who should read the book first.
This will be the last Harry Potter book. So what will happen? Will Harry finally defeat the evil Voldemort; or will the dark forces triumph? But we will not have to wait long to find out. Only one more day to go!
Harry Potter Vocabulary
security guards -охранники
to search- искать, обыскивать
a security pass - пропуск
a prison - тюрьма
а prisoner - заключенный
valuable - ценный
warehouse - склад
truck - грузовик
to arrive - приезжать, прибывать
a warehouse - склад
to load - загрузить
to publish - печатать, издавать
a publisher - издатель
wizard - маг, волшебник
to struggle - бороться, драться
the forces of evil, the dark forces - темные силы
to print - печатать
go on sale - поступать в продажу
to agree - соглашаться
to defeat - победить
No Clothes Day
Most British children wear school uniform to go to school. They have to. The school rules say that the children have to wear school uniform at school.
What sort of school uniform? Well, my younger children are both at secondary school. My daughter has to wear a dark green skirt or trousers, a white blouse, a dark green jumper, and black shoes and socks or tights. The Moslem girls at her school may wear a head-scarf, but it must be dark green or white or black.
My son wears black trousers, a white shirt, a school tie and a dark blue jumper.
At some schools, the pupils wear blazers - that is, a jacket in school colours with the school badge on the pocket. In most other European countries, children do not wear uniform to go to school. They just wear their normal clothes. People in Germany and Scandinavia, for instance, think that British school uniforms are very strange.
So what do British children think? Generally, they don't mind wearing school uniform. After all, all their friends have to wear school uniform too. And many parents are happy, because there are no arguments with their children about what they may wear for school; and less pressure from their children to buy expensive new clothes because their school friends have them.
But sometimes it is nice not to have to wear school uniform. About 2 or 3 times a year, many British schools have a "no uniform day" as a way of raising money for charity. The children come to school wearing their normal clothes, and give some money to the charity. Often the children themselves help to choose which charity they will support.
Today, 17 November, lots of schools have a no uniform day, to raise money for the BBC Children in Need appeal. So my children have gone to school today wearing jeans and trainers and t-shirts.
So why is this podcast called "no clothes day"? Well, a young friend of my children once told us excitedly that "tomorrow is a no clothes day at school". We laughed and said that it was a "no uniform day", not a "no clothes day". But ever since then, in our family, we have talked of "no clothes day".
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