viernes, 30 de septiembre de 2016

Nicola Thorp high heels at work row

A London receptionist was sent home from work after refusing to wear high heels, it has emerged.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

1 What job was the woman supposed to do?
2 What shoes was she wearing on the day she was sent home?
3 What option did the company give her before sending her home?
4 What did the employment hotline say to Nicola?
5 Why don't many companies follow the dress code laws?
6 What was she supposed to do in the job?
7 What's Nicola's opinion of female workers who want to wear high heels?
8 What were high heels originally designed for?
9 When was Price Waterhouse Coopers, the company that hired Nicola, aware of the controversy?

Now a woman who says she was sent home from a receptionist job because she refused to wear high heels is petitioning Parliament to change the law.  Nicola Thorp was employed by an agency who then sent her to work at a management consultancy in London. The agency that employed her, Portico, has said to us their personal appearance guidelines are in line with standard industry practice.  Well, I've been speaking to Nicola Thorp. She said that she was laughed at when she pointed out that male colleagues weren’t subjected to the same demands when it came to how they dress.
That day I was wearing flat black shoes and they gave me a dress to wear, and a jacket which I put on and the supervisor said, well, you know, you're not going to wear those, we only have women in heels in reception. And I said, well, I think that's ridiculous. I pointed to a male colleague, I said, he's wearing flat shoes, why can’t I? And, of course, that’s laughed at and I understand because that’s a much bigger issue for people to get their heads around. They then said to me, you can go and buy a pair of heels if you like, we’ll let you work. I refused and was sent home.
Without pay.No pay.
Without pay, no. I'm told I can’t work for them so…
So the agency said you, you can't work for us again.
The agency actually really understood. They said, yeah, unfortunately this is what the client requires so I called an employment hotline, and said you know, this is what happened to me, this can't be legal, you know, this is, this is my fundamental right as a woman and they said, well, I'm sorry actually dress codes laws state that an employer can make employees wear a formal dress code, which I agree with, and they can distinguish between male and female. As it stands, flat shoes are not considered to be formal or smart for a woman to wear, and I think that's unfair.
And that still stands, and so were you surprised to discover that that is.
Really, really surprised. Many companies obviously don't take that on board, they’re forward-thinking and think, you know, this is a really outdated, quite sexist dress code, but there are some companies who think that the way a woman should look in a corporate environment is to be two to four inches taller and to change the way, I suppose, they carry themselves.
And there's no doubt in your mind that, that the flat shoes you were wearing were in keeping in terms of they were smart, they were neat, they allowed you… the point is, I think, that potentially you were gonna be on your feet for a nine hour shift because you're walking around the offices showing clients around…  I mean… what… Nicole, I’m sorry… I didn’t know that was the law either…
…or that it was written in that way…
It’s so wonderful, it sparked this debate, the only difference is… I mean, I'm wearing pretty much the same shoes now. I would just.. you couldn't tell from the front I would have just been two inches taller.
And what about a woman who might say, oh but I, I actually feel better in heels, I feel stronger, I…
Brilliant! I would… I would encourage women to… this is my point, it's my heels, it’s my choice, I should be able to choose whether to wear heels or not. If a woman wants to, then absolutely fine, that's up to her. If a company wants to have everyone wearing the same, I think it really needs to listen to the women who are saying this is uncomfortable and you're not really treating us very fairly.
And part of the point is that this is a ruling that was probably set in stone many, many, many years ago.
Many years ago, many, many years ago. High heels were originally designed for men so that they could keep their feet in stirrups whilst riding a horse. Now they're not still wearing heels because fashion changes and moves forward so I think it's about time that corporate fashion followed suit. 
That was Nicola Thorp in the last hour. Now we did ask the various people involved for a comment. We heard first from PwC, that is the company that the agency sent Nicola to work for. PwC,  Price Waterhouse Coopers, says it outsources its front of house and reception services to a third party supplier. We first became aware of this matter on the 10th of May, some five months after the issue arose and the dress code referenced is not, in fact, a PWC policy. We also spoke to the recruitment agency who directly employed Nicola, that’s Portico. Portico said in line with industry standard practice we have personal appearance guidelines across many of our corporate locations. These policies include recommendations for appropriate style of footwear for the role. We will now be reviewing our guidelines in consultation with both our clients and our team members.

1 receptionist
2 flat black shoes 
3 buying a pair of heels
4 what the company had done was legal
5 because they are outdated and sexist
6 walking around the offices showing clients around
7 she doesn't object to that, that's their choice 
8 for men to ride horses
9 on 10th of May, some five months after the issue arose

jueves, 29 de septiembre de 2016

The doctor who saved 100,000 eyes

Nicholas Kristof travels to Nepal to meet an ophthalmologist who may have cured more people of blindness than anyone in history.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

1 How many peoplas has Sanduk Ruit personally cured?
2 How long does the eye surgery festival last?
3 How many peoples does the Himalayan Cataract Project operate on in that time?
4 When will the patient see well again after the operation?
5 How much does each eye surgery cost in Nepal?
6 What is Dr Ruit helping do?

Tully Maia is blind. Without her vision, she can no longer farm, and her family risks going hungry. For centuries the only option for people like Tully Maia was to accept a life of blindness. But now, somebody is changing that.
I’m Nicholas Kristoff. I’ve come here to Nepal, a country still struggling from this year’s earthquake to visit a public health legend.
Dr Ruit…
Thanks for coming!
Such a pleasure to see you!
Dr Sanduk Ruit may have restored sight to more people than anyone else in history.
We claim that the vision outcome is as good as anywhere any the world.
He’s bringing inexpensive eye surgery to poor people with cataract blindness, and not just a few. He has personally cured more than 100,000 Nepalese and counting.
People have come from around the region, some of them trekking all day to attend the eye surgery festival put on by Dr Ruit and his organisation, the Himalayan Cataract Project. Over just two days, Dr Ruit and his team operate on more than a hundred people. It’s an assembly line of hope.
Dr Ruit we brought you a patient. This is Tully Maia.
Tully Maia.
So what are you doing now?
You know, Nick, I am opening the gateway to the eye. There’s a membrane that I’m opening. There are not many medical interventions where the investment is so strict and the return is so straight. I know the patient is going to see very well tomorrow. I’ll get you to have a look at the nucleus.
Wow! That is the cataract that was making her blind.
Cataracts cause half of all blindness worldwide. In places like American removing them is no big deal. In fact, my mother just had the surgery this summer, but the standard operation is much too expensive for places like Nepal. So Dr Sanduk Ruit created a grassroots network that screens villages for cataracts, then gathers them together for surgery all at once. His biggest innovation was simplifying that surgery so it costs just $25 per eye.
That’s it a few minutes per eye and you’re done.
Assistance like this would have never been developed in the West, where it’s just not necessary. And now that it’s proven in Nepal, Dr Ruit is helping bringing it to Africa, meaning a heroic doctor who’s already cured hundreds of thousands may soon be responsible for curing millions more, allowing them to see again, work again and get their lives back.
Twenty-four hours later, it’s the moment of truth.
How many fingers am I holding up?
You can go.
Very good.

1 more than 100,000
2 two 
3 more than 100
4 the following day
5 $25 per eye
6 developing the same scheme in Africa

miércoles, 28 de septiembre de 2016

Talking point: Looking for a job

This week's talking point is looking for a job. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas come to mind more easily the day you get together with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.

Think about some family members and friends or acquaintaces that are employed at the moment.
What do they do?
How did they get their jobs?
What different methods do people use to find a job?

What do managers look for when they employ someone new? Choose the four qualities that you think are most important.
creative thinking
good grades
work experience
good problem-solving skills
a friendly personality
the ability to work in a team
a positive attitude to work
practical skills

Here are some things that school students can do to help them prepare for their working lives.
Talk to each other about how useful these experiences might be.
Then decide which experience would have the greatest effect on preparing students for their working lives and finding a job. 
meeting employers at a careers day
learning about money management
working part-time
roleplaying  job interviews
doing volunteer work
Have you ever had a job interview?
Was it a good experience? Why (not)?
Did you prepare for it? If so, how?
What questions were you asked at the interview?
What unusual job interviews have you heard of or experienced yourself?

To illustrate the point you can watch the famous The Candidate Heineken job interview video.

What's your management style?
Passionate... Passionate... Passionate...
And what's your biggest weakness?
Being stubborn... stubborn... stubborn I think...
Can you give me one reason why I should hire you...
Because sports is my passion...
I'm really passionate about football...
I really like football...

All job interviews are the same.
Same standard questions. Same prepared answers.
When you are looking for a job... for an interview, paint or brush, you look good, you feel good...
How to find the right talent for an event and sponsorship internship among 1734 applicants?
HEINEKEN presents THE CANDIDATE. The first job interview you can't prepare for...

Hi, hello, how are you...
Vincent Mamela
Ok, Vince
And so you liked it when we were walking hand in hand?
It made me feel comfortable, yes...
Ohm interesting, we'll see what happens...
well thank you very much for your time I suppose...
thank you very much... thank you...

Sir, do you, are you sure...
I'm fine, I'm just... I'll get a little water in a second...
Ok, if you say no
Stay with us
If we'd talk about money, how much money do you think you would like to have...for the position?
Last time this happened it was at a disco...
The discotheque?

Fiery and passionate or cold and calculated...
I would say cold and calculated because...
Wrong answer...
Fiery and passionate ...other people get infected by my enthusiasm...
You think I'm getting infected right now?
We need to go...come on Simon, Mr. Ross...Please...
Come on...we need to get going...
We're missing a hand here... Can you help us please?...
Can you help us? Please. We have a gap here...Sir...
Ok it's Ok...
come on, jump... come on...
The best 3 interviews were voted by the Heineken Internet community on an internal portal.
The most voted candidate was brought to the Juventus Stadium for a final test. JUVENTUS-CHELSEA.
Guy Lutching. You got the job. Guy is now working at Heineken... Still infecting people with his enthusiasm. HEINEKEN. OPEN YOUR WORLD.

martes, 27 de septiembre de 2016

Alison Chung, a digital detective

Alison Chung is not wired like most people. This can present challenges socially, but from a business perspective, it’s her competitive advantage as the owner of a consulting firm that is essentially a digital detective agency.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

1 How often does Alison use digital devices when she's with her family?
2 What was Alison's upbringing like?
3 In what languages did she read detective stories?
4 What subject did she excel at?
5 How much was the write-off the client had written to the law firm?
6 How long had Alison been answering questions when she was enquired about box 97?
7 Who usually hires her company?
8 What is the worst part of her job?

Sometimes people ask me, you know, ‘when does it get busy for you?’ And I say, you know, ‘whenever there’s lying, cheating and dishonesty, it’s busy. And I’m sorry to say, we’re a little bit on the busy side.’
TeamWerks is a technology consulting firm with a particular focus in computer forensics. Whenever there’s a question as to who did what when, it is probably on some digital device, ready for somebody like me to find. We can tell you the text messages that were sent even if they’re erased. 
My family members will not allow me to be in the presence of their digital devices. When I visit, everybody locks everything up.
I had a very traditional upbringing. My parents were very strict. When I was naughty and my mother would say go to your room, I was thrilled because behind closed doors I would be doing puzzles and pretend to solve crimes. I read every detective novel in English and Chinese that was available.
I really liked math because it was easy for me. I was good with numbers.
That was a time during the tech boom so there was a lot of business to be had. So I just kind of went with my gut and said, you know what, I just want to form a small company and I just want us to work on tech projects.
Ok, we just received this hard drive.
We fell into the forensics. I received a call from some law firm partners I had known and they said we need somebody to go through more than 20 boxes of computer code because their client had written a one-line $50,000,000 write-off and the IRS’ questioning whether or not that write-off is valid.
I’ll never forget this; there were five men in half-glasses and they looked very stern and they said ‘Good morning. Who is that girl?’ And, one of the attorneys said ‘Oh, that’s our expert.’ The five IRS lawyers started laughing and they said ‘How much do you want to bet that we can break her down?’ And the first half-glasses looked at me and said, ‘Yes, Ms. Chung, our expert witness here, would you care to explain to us what happened in box number 78?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I would be delighted to.’ And so, the inquiry went on and on, and box after box. I think it was at the end of the fourth hour, the question was ‘OK. What happened to 97?’ I said ‘Oh, that was an exciting time. 97 was a good box.’ And at that point, I smiled to myself, I knew I had them.
When they said that we won, I was screaming for joy and I said ‘Give me another one! Give me another one!’
Embedded in all this code, that is a nugget of information that will be prove to be useful.
We get hired by the lawyers to examine computers and then, it’s not until you get into the bowels of the system and you look at who is talking to whom, and you realize, ‘oh my gosh, this is organized crime.’ And so at this point, I have a decision to make: I could resign or just tell the truth. It is dangerous, it is risky.
I have thought that I might be in physical danger doing this job because of the robberies but because I am Buddhist, I believe that when it’s my time, that’s when it will be. I’m not fearful. But I have taken the necessary precautions and I think that’s enough.
I always wanted to solve mysteries, I just didn’t know that I was going to be a digital detective. I think differently, I look at things differently. I mean, sometimes, I go to social events and see somebody and I’m wondering, ‘Wow, I wonder what’s on their computer.’

1 never
2 strict
3 English and Chinese
4 maths
5 $50,000,000 
6 four hours 
7 lawyers
8 the risk of physical danger

lunes, 26 de septiembre de 2016

Listening test: Shakespeare, my hero

Listen to two friends talking about Shakespeare and choose the option A, B or C which best completes each sentence.

1 Melissa
A. has a degree in English studies.
B. has taken part in Shakespearean performances.
C. knows Shakespeare well.

2 Saying Macbeth
A. is preferable to saying ‘the Scottish play’.
B. might make you do silly things if you’re an actor.
C. will usually bring you bad luck.

3 Melissa enjoys Macbeth because
A. it is fast-moving.
B. it is less violent than other tragedies.
C. it is not as profound as other plays.

4 Melissa
A. used to be a teacher before becoming an actor.
B. has played the role of Lady Macbeth
C. says Shakespeare is boring for children.

5 In Melissa’s opinion (…) to remember the lines.
A. actors usually have problems
B. plays with rhyme and rhythm make it easier
C. knowing what you’re saying is key

6 For actors interpreting Shakespeare
A. is always a challenge.
B. is only motivating if they belong to the Royal Shakespeare Company.
C. represents the most successful point of their career.

7 Shakespeare is relevant today
A. because human nature hasn’t changed.
B. despite the fact people have changed.
C. the world’s problems are similar to those in Shakespeare’s times.

Hello, again, Melissa.
What about historical heroes for you… from Britain?
I’d have to say William Shakespeare.
Definitely. Studied a lot at school and at university and I’ve seen performances obviously. But I just think it’s…
What’s your favourite play?
Macbeth, I think.
Well, …
Ah, you’re not meant to say Macbeth!
Oh, the Scottish play.
The Scottish play.
Bad luck, isn’t it, is to say it.
Well, only if you are in a theatre, I think.
And lots of actors are very superstitious about it and may have all these techniques if you say you have to run round the theatre three times or something to cancel the bad luck.
Ok. And, yes, so why, why is that your favourite?
Well, it’s very action-packed, more than the others. I don’t know, that sounds strange when talking about Shakespeare because people think it’s dry and deep…
A bit car-chase.
Yeah, explosions and all sorts… Yeah, it’s quite violent, a lot of the tragedies are quite violent, but it’s sort of got a bit of everything. There’s like the light relief, a bit of comedy, occasionally, so it’s not too much doom and gloom.
Something for everyone.
Yeah, absolutely, a bit with the dong.
Hold on. Weren’t you a bit of a thesp before you were a teacher?
I was, yes, I did a bit of Shakespeare.
Enthralled of the boards.
I did, yes, or tried to.
And you did Shakespeare in plays?
Yes, yeah. I worked with a company who did, well, performed Shakespeare plays in schools, in primary schools around England.
And did the kids get it? Did they understand it?
Yes, absolutely, yeah, yeah, because we didn’t do just the whole play straight with nothing else, because that’s a bit boring for children. We kind of stopped and talked about what was gonna happen next and the characters…
So did you actually do Macbeth?
Yes, yes, we did Macbeth…
So were you Lady Macbeth ouch damned spot?
I unfortunately wasn’t. I’d love to do that scene because it’s fantastic, who doesn’t want to go mad on stage…
… and just run around and scream and all the crazy things she does, it’s brilliant. But I, no, unfortunately I wasn’t Lady Macbeth.
Ok… and what, what were you then?
I was the narrator kind of person. I kind of got the kids involved, they got up and did some lines and…
Oh, really?
… helped them understand what was happening, and things like that I’d say.
And something I’ve always wanted to ask actually for someone who is a Shakespearean actor.
Oh, that is me yes.
How do you remember all those lines? What’s the system?
Well, I suppose everyone has their own system, I don’t think there’s one way, but they’re quite easy to remember in terms of… they rhyme for a start and there’s a regular pattern like a rhythmic, a regular rhythm so you can follow to help yourself as well. And if you understand what you’re saying and why, then it’s natural to say it, so it becomes part of… the emotions.
Ok, and as a thespian, a thespian, do… is Shakespeare the zenith of the acting world?
I guess it is, yeah, it’s like the pinnacle of everybody’s ambitions, especially like working with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford it’s, yeah, it’s very important for a lot of people and rightly so, I think.
And do you think the… ok it’s in all the English, but what about the themes in Shakespearean plays, are they actually relevant anymore?
Oh, yeah, I think so. I mean, have humans really changed that much in the last four hundred years in terms of…
I’ve changed in the last five minutes.
That’s just because you’re a fashion god but like emotionally I don’t think human beings have changed, the world we live in has changed enormously but in terms of our relationships with each other, the things we want, our ambitions, our dark sides, our…
So they are timeless universal themes, eternal truths.
Absolutely, yes, that’s a good way to describe it, yeah.

1C 2B 3A 4C 5C 6C 7A

domingo, 25 de septiembre de 2016

Extensive listening: 3 lessons on success from an Arab businesswoman

Professional Arab women juggle more responsibilities than their male counterparts, and they face more cultural rigidity than Western women. What can their success teach us about tenacity, competition, priorities and progress?

Tracing her career as an engineer, advocate and mother in Abu Dhabi, Leila Hoteit shares, in this TED Talk, three lessons for thriving in the modern world.

You can read a full transcript here.

sábado, 24 de septiembre de 2016

Reading test: For the first time in a century wild tiger numbers go up

In this week's reading test we are going to practise the 'insert the word' kind of task. To do so, we are going to use the Huffington Post article For the first time in a century wild tiger numbers go up.

Read the text and choose the word (A to O) which best fits in gaps 1 to 10. Four of the words are not needed. 0 has been completed as an example.

For the first time in a century wild tiger numbers go up

For wild tigers, the numbers have not been kind.
In 1900, an (0) … 100,000 tigers wandered about free on our planet. Yet within a hundred years, that number gone down by more than 95 percent — the result of uncontrolled poaching and (1) … habitat loss.
But it seems the tide may finally be (2) … for the majestic cat. On Sunday, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced that wild tiger numbers were on the (3) … for the first time in over a century.
There are now about 3,890 tigers in the wild, up from about 3,200 in 2010, said WWF, citing national tiger survey numbers.
The increase could partly be attributed to growing tiger populations in India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan as well as better protection of the (4) … species globally, the organization said. The improved count could also be the result of other factors, (5) … better survey methods.
(6) … still cautious, conservationists regarded the new global count as a positive (7) … forward for the world’s tigers.
“More important (8) … the absolute numbers is the trend, and we’re seeing the trend going in the right direction,” Ginette Hemley, WWF’s senior vice president of wildlife conservation, said.
Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF, added in a statement: “We’ve watched tigers (9) … for decades and have dreamed of bending that curve in the other direction. In a sea of bad news on the environment we are (10) … significant progress on one of the greatest comeback stories in conservation.”

A - as
B - decline
C - doing
D - endangered
E - estimated 0 Example
F - increase
G - like
H - making
I - rise
J - step
K - than
L - that
M - turning
N - while
O - widespread

Photo: AlexTurton via Getty Images

1O 2M 3I 4D 5G 6N 7J 8K 9B 10H