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The Turkmen cockroach

Level 3
1

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Warmer

cockroach /kkrt/ noun [countable] An insect similar to a large beetle that lives in places where food is kept. Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattodea. This name derives from the Latin word for cockroach, blatta. Discuss what you would do if you saw a cockroach: in the street? in your home? in a restaurant?

Key words

Skim read the article and find a word that means: 1. To get rid of an employee two words. (sub-title and para 4) 2. A short news broadcast or official statement. (para 1) 3. One complete turn around a course or a circuit. (para 2) 4. A silly or embarrassing mistake. (para 3) 5. Something that fails completely in an embarrassing way. (para 5) 6. To improve the way something looks by making major changes to it. (para 5) 7. An informal word for an argument. (para 6) 8. To start a new project, one that will difficult and take time. (para 8) 9. To make a short visit. (para 11) 10. The act of chopping off someones head. (notes)

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2008 NEWS LESSONS / The Turkmen cockroach / Advanced

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The Turkmen cockroach


Level 3 Advanced
Niyazov, who also had run-ins with state TV executives. Several executives were sacked after drunken technicians failed to screen the New Years address to the nation by Niyazov. They eventually managed to get the bulletin on air at 3am. 7 Those sacked in the cockroach debacle included journalists, directors, camera operators, and technical staff, the website reported. Yesterday nobody from the Turkmen embassy in Moscow was available for comment. Berdymukhamedov has been credited with improving relations with the west, and embarking at home on a series of mild liberal reforms. He has announced the opening of Internet cafes in Ashgabat, Turkmenistans capital, and reintroduced foreign languages to the school curriculum. Last March the president restored pensions to more than 100,000 elderly citizens and in January he reversed another of his predecessors more bizarre bans on opera and ballet performances.

And finally... how the march of a lone cockroach put 30 people out of work
Luke Harding in Moscow February 22, 2008 Turkmen president sacks staff after insects walk-on part in TV news bulletin 1 For the viewers of Turkmenistans popular nightly news programme, Vatan, it was another routine bulletin. But as the newsreader began the 9pm broadcast, viewers across the central Asian country spotted something unusual crawling across the studio table: a large brown cockroach. 2 The cockroach managed to complete a whole lap of the desk, apparently undetected, before disappearing. The programme, complete with cockroach, was repeated at 11pm that night. 3 It was only at 9am the following day that horrified officials from Turkmenistans ministry of culture discovered the cockroachs guest appearance. And that, perhaps, should have been the end of the matter, the mildly entertaining footage being occasionally shown on a TV bloopers show. But the consequences of this particular cockroachs five minutes of fame were immediate and severe. 4 The countrys president, Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, took news of the insect so badly that he responded by firing no fewer than 30 workers from the main state TV channel, the news website Kronika Turkmenistan reported yesterday. 5 Before the cockroach debacle, Berdymukhamedov had instructed Turkmenistans minister of culture, Gulmurat Muradov, to revamp the countrys Soviet-era TV channel. However, a new ministerial supervisory committee founded to carry out this task only worked 9am to 6pm - allowing the cockroach to make its run undetected. 6 Berdymukhamedov became leader of the oil-rich former Soviet republic in December 2006, following the sudden death of Turkmenistans longstanding and flamboyantly authoritarian ruler Saparmurat

10 Our flourishing nation should not stand separate from the world, Berdymukhamedov told state-run television. He added: It absolutely should have a worthy operatic theatre and a worthy state theatre. The first opera would be performed in six or seven months, he suggested. 11 Berdymukhamedov has moved to end Turkmenistans isolation from the rest of the world in other ways too. He has overseen attempts to attract larger numbers of foreign tourists to Turkmenistan, including the building of a multibillion pound tourist resort on the Caspian Sea. The president has also dropped in on Washington. 12 Berdymukhamedovs apparent dislike of cockroaches may have something to do with his previous career as a dentist. He graduated from Turkmenistans state medical institute in 1979, completing a PhD in medical sciences in Moscow, and working as a dentist from 1980 to 1995. In December 1997 he was appointed minister for health.
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Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2008 NEWS LESSONS / The Turkmen cockroach / Advanced

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The Turkmen cockroach


Level 3

Advanced
A cockroach will live after decapitation for several weeks before starving to death; the severed head survives several hours. The worlds largest species is the wingless Australian rhinoceros (Macropanesthia rhinoceros), weighing up to 33.5 gms and up to 90 mm in length.

Cockroach notes 4,500 cockroach species have been classified, but there are thought to be at least twice as many species yet to be discovered around the world. Despite the belief cockroaches would be the only survivors of nuclear war, being 15 times more resistant to radiation than humans, other insects such as fruit flies can survive even higher doses.
Guardian News & Media 2008 First published in The Guardian, 22/02/08

3 Comprehension check
1. Where does Turkmenistans wealth currently come from? a) Tourism b) Oil c) Pharmaceuticals 2. Before he became president, Berdymukhamedov was... a) a dentist. b) the Minister for Health. c) Both of the above. 3. Operatic theatre and ballet... a) can now be performed in Turkmenistan. b) have been banned. c) are free for pensioners. 4. The cockroach wasnt noticed at first because... a) the technical staff had been sacked. b) the bulletin wasnt shown until 3am. c) the ministerial advisory committee had finished work for the day. 5. Berdymukhamedov wants to... a) cut ties with Russia. b) bring about an end to Turkmenistans isolation from the rest of the world. c) offer free dental treatment to the countrys 100,000 pensioners. 6. Turkmenistan is... a) landlocked. b) an island. c) is on the Caspian sea.
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Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2008 NEWS LESSONS / The Turkmen cockroach / Advanced

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The Turkmen cockroach


Level 3 Advanced
4 Vocabulary: Collocations
Join the words to make 3(or 4)-word collocations from the article. Then, talk with a partner, explain what they mean and write an example sentence of your own for each collocation. mildly flamboyantly mild worthy multibillion pound state tourist operatic authoritarian medical liberal entertaining institute resort theatre footage ruler reforms

4 Discussion
Berdymukhamedovs reaction to the cockroach debacle was to sack 30 people. Do you think his actions were justified? Give reasons why or why not.

7 Webquest
Do cockroaches bite? How big is a cockroach baby? What do cockroaches eat? Go to http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/kunkel/cockroach_faq.html to find the answers to these and many other questions. Create a class quiz with each student contributing one question (plus answer).

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2008 NEWS LESSONS / The Turkmen cockroach / Advanced

CA O N T O FR BE C O DO O M W P W N IA EB LO B SI A L TE DE E D

The Turkmen cockroach


Level 3 Advanced KEY
2 Key words
1. sack and fire 2. bulletin 3. lap 4. bloopers 5. debacle 6. revamp 7. run-in 8. embark 9. drop in 10. decapitation

4 Vocabulary: Collocations
mildly entertaining footage flamboyantly authoritarian ruler mild liberal reforms worthy operatic theatre multibillion pound tourist resort state medical institute

2 Comprehension check
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. b) Oil c) Both of the above. a) can now been performed in Turkmenistan. c) the ministerial advisory committee had finished work for the day. b) bring about an end to Turkmenistans isolation from the rest of the world. c) is on the Caspian sea.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2008 NEWS LESSONS / The Turkmen cockroach / Advanced

CA O N T O FR BE C O DO O M W P W N IA EB LO B SI A L TE DE E D

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