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Aside

Unit 41 – Sex Ed Stats

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Time: 3 minutes

The passage below has been adapted from an article published on guardian.co.uk, written by Rachel Williams. 

 

A survey carried out as part of the 2001 census in the UK showed that fewer than half of teenage mothers were going to school when they got pregnant. About a quarter of boys and a third of girls who left school at 16 with no qualifications did not use contraception when they first had sex, compared to only 6% of boys and 8% girls who stayed on till 17 or over and got qualifications.

A 2008 study of 38 mostly poor, developing countries found that 15- to 17-year-old girls who were enrolled in school were less likely to have had sex than girls who weren’t in education. Nearly 13 million adolescent girls give birth each year in developing countries; a girl growing up in Chad is more likely to die in childbirth than she is to attend secondary school, according to the IPPF. But if a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, on average she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
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Aside

Unit 24 – The Collapse of the Soviet Regime

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Time: 4 minutes 30 seconds

The following is an extract of an article by David Remnick, published In volume 191 of the official journal of the National Geographic

It was the summer of 1991. The societ regime was crumbling like week-old bread, and my wife and I were scheduled to fly home to New York for the last time, ending a nearly four-year stint in Moscow – mine for the Washington Post, hers for the New York Times. The flight was scheduled for August 18, a Sunday. A few days before, I had interviewed Aleksandr Yakovlev, who had been Mikhail Gorbachev’s closest aide throughout the perestroika years. The “forces of revenge” within the party and the KGB, he said, were preparing a putsch.
I didn’t know what to make of his comment except to put it in the paper. The next day, at a party with some Russian friends on the Moscow River, we talked about Yakovlev’s prediction. My friends and I agreed – a coup seemed far-fetched. The Soviet Union, after all, was no banana republic.
“But I will tell you one thing,” I said, in the plummy tone of one rehearsing his valedictory, “Check out Moscow in a few years, and there will be shopping malls everywhere.”
“You’ve gone nuts,” said my friend Sergei.
“Oh, you’re right!” Sergei’s wife, Masha said mockingly. “Downtown will look just like Fifth Avenue. Be sure to visit!”
So that was the consensus: no coup, no shopping malls. The world would change, to be sure, but Moscow could forget about Sears, much less Saks Fifth Avenue. A couple of days later the first prediction went sour. There were tanks parked not a hundred yards from my front door on Kutuzovsky Prospekt. The coup was on. (It was over three days later.)
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