Text #8 New Taxis to Reduce Pollution in Cairo

Cairo is notorious for its overcrowded roads, irregular driving practices and rickety old vehicles, and also for its air pollution. In recent months though, environmental studies indicate there have been signs of improvement. That's due in part to the removal of many of the capital's antiquated black and white taxis. Most of those dating back to the 1960s and 70s were in a poor state of repair.

After new legislation demanded their removal from the roads, a low-interest loan scheme was set up with three Egyptian banks so drivers could buy new cars. The government pays about $900 for old ones to be scrapped and advertising on the vehicles helps cover repayments.

The idea has proved popular with customers-they can now travel in air-conditioned comfort-and because the new cabs are metered, they don't have to haggle over fares. Banks and car manufacturers are glad for the extra business in tough economic times. As for the taxi drivers, most are delighted to be behind the wheel of new cars, although there have been a few complaints about switching from black and white to a plain white colour. “Our cabs used to look distinctive,” one man told me “they were part of our heritage, like the pyramids. If you saw our black and white cabs in an old movie, you knew it was shot in Cairo.”

Circle the correct letter A, B, C, or D:

1. Cairo’s air pollution was largely caused by….

A. irregular government checks.

B. oil spills in the Nile River.

C. so many old taxis on the road.

D. factories from the 1960s and 70s.

2. Taxi drivers can get $900 for…

A. buying a new car from the bank.

B. repairing their old taxis.

C. putting meters in their taxis.

D. destroying their old taxis.

3. Customers are happy because…

A. they don’t have to argue about prices.

B. they feel safer in the new taxis.

C. they can more easily distinguish the new taxis.

D. there are more taxis on the roads now.

4. Some taxi drivers complain that…

A. the new taxis are black and white.

B. the new taxis are black.

C. the new taxis are white.

D. the new taxis look like pyramids.

5. According to taxi drivers, everyone would know if a movie was filmed in Cairo if they saw…

A. pyramids.

B. overcrowded roads.

C. old vehicles.

D. black and white taxis.



Text #9 Can Sports Bring World Peace?


      Sports have long been idealized as a way to heal wounds, mend fences, and rise above differences among cultures and nations. As we look ahead to the Olympics in a few weeks and the World Cup after that, are we fools to think that sports can not only transcend politics but pave a path to peace?

  Nobody sells the sports-as-diplomacy theme better than the Olympics, which aims “to build a peaceful and better world thanks to sport.” Most everything about the Games echoes these ideals: the interlocking Olympic rings that symbolize the coming together of the five continents, the determinedly harmonious atmosphere at Olympic village, and the very existence of the IOC’s Olympic Truce Foundation and its stated goal of finding “peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the conflicts around the world.”

  But despite the many feel-good stories, high-profile sporting events have served equally well, it seems, as a means by which to sow dissension: think of the Munich massacre, or the 1996 Olympic Park bombing. And in 1916, the unifying power of sports proved no match for the hostilities of World War I: the Berlin Olympics, long planned for that year, had to be cancelled.

     We want so badly to believe that all we really need to achieve world peace is a ball. We crave feel-good solutions that will promote world harmony. We tell ourselves that the Olympics can make everybody love each other; that basketball and soccer can bring peace to Israel, conciliation to Ireland, and understanding to South Africa; that sports’ power to heal is stronger than hatred’s power to destroy. If sports are really going to save the world, we need those kids who are now shooting baskets and goals in Israel and Ireland and South Africa to become not athletes but political leaders. And they’d better grow up fast.


 Circle the correct letter A, B, C, or D:

1. According to the author, sports have long been touted as…

A. a way to bring peace between different cultures and nations.

B. the difference between peaceful and warring nations.

C. a way to highlight political injustices in the world.

D. a way to sow dissension.


2. In this article the term ‘sports-as-diplomacy’ is best defined as…

A. the Olympic Truce Foundation’s mission statement.

B. the way in which the world views the conflicts in Israel, Ireland, and South Africa.

C. a belief that creating solutions to world conflicts can be aided by sports.

D. a reference to the failure of sports to resolve conflicts such as World War I.


3. The Munich massacre and the 1996 Olympic Park bombing are evidence used by the author to show that…

A. sports do bring peace even in times of conflict.

B. poor security at major sporting events slows the peace process.

C. organizations like the Olympics and the World Cup are mostly effective at bringing peace.

D. large sporting events can create more reasons for hostility among rival nations.


4. The author believes that sports…

A. can be an avenue for peace if the competitions are held at the right place and the right time.

B. cannot solve the world’s problems without the help of good politics.

C. can bring peace to Israel, Ireland, and South Africa.

D. will only bring peace if large events like the Olympics and the World Cup are not involved in political debates.


5. In conclusion, the author suggests that…

A. the path to world peace is through younger generations becoming involved in politics.

B. the Olympics and the World Cup exclude countries currently in turmoil.

C. sports are a feel-good solution that can be utilized by politicians more effectively.

D. people are not wrong for believing sports can promote world peace.


Text# 10 Art

     I remember, when in my younger days I had heard of the wonders of Italian painting, I fancied the great pictures would be great strangers; some surprising combination of color and form; a foreign wonder, barbaric pearl and gold, like the spontoons and standards of the militia, which play such pranks in the eyes and imaginations of school-boys. I was to see and acquire I knew not what. When I came at last to Rome, and saw with eyes the pictures, I found that genius left to novices the gay and fantastic and ostentatious, and itself pierced directly to the simple and true; that it was familiar and sincere; that it was the old, eternal fact I had met already in so many forms,—unto which I lived; that it was the plain you and me I knew so well-had left at home in so many conversations. I had the same experience already in a church at Naples. There I saw that nothing was changed with me but the place, and said to myself,-“Thou foolish child, hast thou come out hither, over four thousand miles of salt water, to find that which was perfect to thee there at home?”—that fact I saw again in the Academmia at Naples, in the chambers of sculpture, and yet again when I came to Rome, and to the paintings of Raphael, Angelo, Sacchi, Titian, and Leonardo da Vinci. “What, old mole! workest thou in the earth so fast?” It had travelled by my side: that which I fancied I had left in Boston was here in the Vatican, and again at Milan, and at Paris, and made all travelling ridiculous as a treadmill. I now require this of all pictures, that they domesticate me, not that they dazzle me. Pictures must not be too picturesque. Nothing astonishes men so much as common-sense and plain dealing. All great actions have been simple, and all great pictures are.

 Circle the correct letter A, B, C, or D:

1. Before the author sees Italian painting, he thinks it will look like…

A. beautiful women.

B. ceremonial objects of the military.

C. foolish children.

D. a religious experience.


2. Which of the following words is an antonym to ‘ostentatious’?

A. extravagant

B. ornate

C. restrained

D. flamboyant


3. What did the author discover when he saw Italian painting for the first time?

A. That the paintings were simpler than he expected them to be.

B. That Italian painting was as ostentatious as he had imagined.

C. That he did not like Italian painting.

D. That Italian painting was technically proficient but lacking in passion.


4. All of the following words are synonymous with ‘picturesque’ EXCEPT:

A. scenic

B. pleasing

C. drab

D. attractive


5. What is the author’s main point about great art?

A. The aim of great art is the self-expression of the artist who creates it.

B. Great art should be fancy and beautiful, conforming to viewers’ expectations.

C. Only Italian painters are capable of producing great art.

D. Great art amazes viewers with its surprising clarity and accessibility.


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