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You are going to read short texts. Choose the best answer
China is investigating the head of its state assets regulator, a former top energy executive. A brief government announcement said that Jiang Jiemin was "suspected of serious discipline violation", shorthand the government generally uses when talking about corruption in public. The investigation, carried out by ruling Communist party’s watchdog, is the result of the deepening crackdown against bribery. It is to eliminate it among officials. Jiang was promoted to head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) in March.
1. The Communist Party's investigation is ...
a) an attempt to manipulate the public opinion
b) a way to eliminate an uncomfortable opponent
c) part of the government’s anti-corruption policy
Ten female officer cadets became the first to pass out of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as part of a mixed gender platoon. Lt Col Lucy Giles (RLC), who is also the establishment’s first female college commander, commented: "This graduation demonstrates the Service’s intention to increase talent and diversity, and to train together as we are likely to be employed in barracks, as well as on operations. Also, credit must go to the Army as it promotes people based on their knowledge and skills, ensuring that the very best are selected for their potential regardless of gender."
2. In her comment Lt Col Lucy Giles ...
a) stresses improving qualifications of female officers
b) praises the gender policy followed by the military
c) suggests changing criteria for females’ promotions
The UN brokered a peace agreement between Houthi rebels and the government in Yemen, after the rebels made significant gains in Sana’a, the capital. The deal calls for a new government to be formed with a prime minister nominated by the Houthis and other insurgents. The president of Yemen, however, described it as a plot that would spark a civil war.
3. The text says that the deal in Yemen is …
a) disapproved by the president
b) rejected by the Houthi rebels
c) put into question by the UN
Just as Thailand’s peak tourist season was beginning, protesters and police clashed in Bangkok, leaving at least four people dead and 250 injured. Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators surrounded government buildings in a bid to force the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawarta. Elected in a landslide in July 2011, the country’s first female Premier said that she was willing to do anything allowed under the constitution, other than step down from office, to make the protesters "happy".
4. Yingluck Shinawarta…
a) refused to fulfil the demand of the protesters
b) agreed to resign from her current position
c) called the demonstrations unconstitutional
Libya's supreme court dissolved the UN-backed parliament, citing irregularities in the latest elections, a day after gunmen attacked Libya’s largest oil field. Political instability has led to escalating violence in recent months as two rival factions, each with their own governing bodies, continue to battle for central control of Libya. The court's ruling stokes fears of further unrest.
5. Libya’s supreme court’s decision may…
a) help resume the country’s political stability
b) decrease people’s fears of more violence
c) fuel the fighting for power in the country
The suffering citizens of western Mexico have had enough. By last year, much of the state of Michoacan had been taken over by the Knights Templat, a gang which claimed to defend the locals against the predatory government. In reality, the group used extortion, kidnap and murder – often with state officials’ tacit support – to threaten locals. Nearly 1,000 were killed. But now determined farmers have gone on the offensive and formed militias: they have already removed a few corrupt mayors and police chiefs. Initially, the worried federal government sent the army to disarm the militias, but now it has decided to legalize them and bring them under army protection.
6. In western Mexico, now the army is to ...
a) suppress the riots started by farmers
b) help citizens to fight against gangsters
c) give protection to high-ranking officials
"Caravanning is cool." From Jarvis Cocker to (elen Mirren and Kate Moss, everyone’s at it – and now you can try it in comfort and style, bang in the middle of Bristol. Four caravans – 1950s-style shiny aluminium Retro Rockets – were hoisted onto the roof of Brooks guesthouse and hooked up to the building’s plumbing. At 16, 18 or 20ft in length, they are not for the claustrophobic, and you can’t tow them away – but they are 'swish", with double beds, pocketsprung mattresses and fine showers. The 360° views are great; and good organic breakfasts are served downstairs.
7. The text describes …
a) a guesthouse in a city centre
b) an unusual hotel restaurant
c) a camping site near a hotel
Tens of thousands of the poorest people in Britain risk being made homeless because of the bedroom tax, according to an analysis of councils' assessments of the welfare cut. From last month, housing benefit has been reduced by 14% to council or housing association tenants who ministers claim have more bedrooms than they need. Data from 107 local authorities shows 86,000 households have been forced to look for one-bedroom homes, of which only 33,000 were available in the past year.
8. Poor Britons may become homeless due to ...
a) receiving lower social benefits
b) refusing to pay bedroom taxes
c) the falling number of flats built
Some of the most isolated regimes in the world are opening up – and trying to shed their dependence on Beijing. China is Cuba’s largest trade partner and its biggest creditor, but normalized relations with the US could open the door to game-changing moves between Havana and Washington. China is still Burma’s largest trade partner and its biggest supplier of weapons. But since the country launched democratic reforms in 2011, players like Japan and Singapore have gained an investment foothold.
9. Changes in Cuba and Burma mean China …
a) might follow the reforms of both countries
b) might stop selling weapons to both countries
c) might have less influence in both countries
In his latest bid to quell ethnic violence, Chinese president Xi Jinping called for tighter state control over religion and ordered the migration of more ethnic Uighurs to inland areas of the country. Meanwhile, Beijing mobilized a 100,000-strong citizen army to gather intelligence as part of a national anti-terrorism campaign.
10. We learn from the text that ethnic Uighurs in China ...
a) oppose ethnic violence
b) will gather intelligence
c) have to move inland
A young hijab-wearing rapper whose lyrics call on women to rise up against sexual harassment and violence in Egypt has become the unlikely star of the latest series of Arabs Got Talent. Mayam Mahmoud, an 18-year-old economics student from Cairo, says she wants to tackle the taboo of sexual harassment in Egypt, where 99.3% of women say they have been subject to it, according to a UN survey. "I won't be the shamed one," the rapper protests in one rap; "these are not flirts; these are stones."
11. In her songs Mayam Mahmoud ...
a) protests against stoning
b) supports wearing hijab
c) raises the taboo issues
Chris Christie, the 25-stone governor of New Jersey who is widely viewed as a likely Republican candidate for president in 2016, has publicly denied that he is too fat for the White House. Interviewer Barbara Walters told Christie last week that he was so "heavy", voters might not think his health would withstand the demands of the job. But Christie insisted that such worries were "ridiculous" and that he had proved his endurance working 18-hour days in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The US has not elected a very fat president since the 24-stone William Howard Taft in 1909.
12. Barbara Walters said Chris Christie …
a) should stop taking part in the race
b) had a good chance of being elected
c) was too unfit to become a president
The US Navy's fifth littoral combat ship, Milwaukee, will benefit from new high-power density water jets aimed at preventing rudder and propeller damage experienced on high-speed ships, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) said. The product of an ONE Future Naval Capabilities program, the water jets arrived last month at the Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin, where Milwaukee is under construction. Developed by Rolls-Royce Naval Marine in Walpole, Mass., in collaboration with ONR and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, the new Axial-Flow Water jet Mk-1 can move nearly half a million gallons of seawater per minute, providing more thrust per unit than commercial water jets. Four will propel the LCS to speeds greater than 40 knots.
13. Thanks to new high-power density water jets, the combat ship Milwaukee will …
a) reach higher speeds
b) require fewer engines
c) achieve bigger ranges
You are going to read a newspaper article. Choose the best answer
The Peril Beyond Putin
Under Vladimir Putin’s presidency, Russia is seen by experts and commentators in the outside world as an expansionist power trying to revise post-Soviet borders and rebuild an empire. But what if Russia itself – a country of nearly 200 nationalities that stretches across 11 time zones – is in danger of crumbling? It would not be the first time that Russia tried aggression and expansion as a defence against modernisation and by doing so undermined its own territorial integrity. In 1904 tsar Nicholas II attempted to prevent a revolution by starting a small war with Japan. The war ended a year later in Russia’s defeat and 12 years later the tsarist Russian empire disappeared. In 1979, as Communist rule weakened, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan; 12 years later the Soviet Union collapsed.
In 2011 Moscow’s urban middle class took to the streets to demand modernisation. Mr Putin responded by picking out alleged national traitors, annexing Crimea and starting a war against Ukraine. The idea that Russia’s latest foreign-policy adventures might end in the same way as previous ones – with the collapse of the state and disintegration of the country – is not as far-fetched as it might seem. The Soviet Union came apart because it overstretched itself and ran out of money and ideas. Local elites saw no benefit in remaining part of a bankrupt country. It fragmented along the administrative borders of the 15 republics that made up the giant country.
Yet there was no reason why the process had to stop there. Indeed, many of Russia’s regions declared their "sovereignty" at the time. To prevent further disintegration Russia’s then president, Boris Yeltsin, came up with the idea of a federation, promising each region as much "sovereignty as it could swallow". Mr Putin has reversed federalism, and turned Russia into a centralised state. He cancelled regional elections, imposed a "presidential" representative over the heads of governors and redistributed tax revenues in Moscow’s favour. But he did not build common institutions. The Russian state is seen not as an upholder of law but as a source of injustice and corruption.
In the words of Mikhail Iampolski, a historian, Russia at present resembles a khanate in which local princes receive a licence to rule from the chief khan in the Kremlin. For the past decade the main job of the Moscow-appointed governors has been to provide votes for Mr Putin. In exchange they received a share of oil revenues and the right to rule as they see fit. Chechnya under Ramzan Kadyrov, a former warlord installed by Mr Putin, is a grotesque illustration of this. Moscow pays a dictatorial and corrupt Chechnya a vast due in return for Mr Kadyrov pretending to be part of Russia and pledging loyalty to Mr Putin.
If Mr Putin goes and the money runs out, Chechnya could be the first to break off. This would have a dramatic effect on the rest of the north Caucasus region. Neighbouring Dagestan, a far bigger and more complex republic than Chechnya, could fragment. A conflict in the Caucasus combined with the weakness of the central government in Russia could make other regions longing for political and economic sovereignty want to detach themselves from Moscow’s problems.
Despite Russia’s deep paranoia that America is trying to break it up, such a scenario is one of the West’s worst nightmares. It opens the question of control over Russia’s nuclear arms. Although the command centre would remain in Moscow, securing missiles spread across Russian territory could be harder than it was after the collapse of the Soviet Union. At the time, the Russians and Americans worked successfully together to move the nuclear arsenal from Ukraine and Kazakhstan to Russia. In the Budapest memorandum Russia, America and Britain guaranteed Ukraine its territorial integrity in exchange for giving up its nuclear arms. Now, Russia’s annexation of Crimea has made any such assurance worthless.
Domestically, Mr Putin brought into motion forces that thrive on war and nationalism. These are not the forces of imperial expansion – Russia lacks the dynamism, resources and vision that empire-building requires. They are forces of chaos and disorganisation. Eastern Ukraine has turned into a nest of criminals and racketeers. They cannot spread Russian civilisation, but they can spread anarchy. In short, Russia under Mr Putin is much more fragile than it looks. Vyacheslav Volodin, his deputy chief of staff, recently equated Mr Putin with Russia: "No Putin, no Russia," he said. It is hard to think of a worse indictment.
14. In the first paragraph the author …
a) criticises the leader’s reluctance to modernise Russia
b) ridicules Russian politicians for ineffective leadership
c) compares current events in Russia to historical ones
d) excuses Russia for its past invasion of Afghanistan
15. The disintegration of the Soviet Union resulted from …
a) too slow a process of the implementation of modernisation
b) the activity of alleged national traitors undermining the state
c) too small financial and intellectual resources to support the state
d) the attitude of the country’s leaders towards the local elites
16. As a result of reversed federalisation …
a) Moscow’s tax revenues have increased
b) governors received greater authority
c) common institutions were established
d) local elections have been reintroduced
17. Ramzan Kadyrov is presented as an example of ….
a) a leader who eradicated corruption and injustice
b) a provider of votes for the country’s president
c) a rebellious head of one of the dependent regions
d) an ex-warlord who has become a rival of Putin
18. Russia’s lack of financial support for Chechnya might …
a) have little effect on their mutual relationships
b) lead to an outbreak of another war
c) result in the disintegration process
d) make the republic unite with its neighbour
19. The worst scenario for the West is …
a) Russia selling nuclear arms to third parties
b) Russia annexing other nearby territories
c) Russia becoming paranoid about US attacks
d) Russia losing control over nuclear weapons
20. According to a high-ranking Putin’s official, Russia …
a) has influenced Eastern Ukraine in an unintended way
b) possesses qualities allowing it to re-establish an empire
c) has triggered forces that will be very difficult to control
d) remains intact as long as its leader keeps his position