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November 3, 2009

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U.N. Boss in Afghan Election Mission

The General-Secretary of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon has visited Afghanistan. The U.N. chief is trying to help in the crisis over the upcoming election. There was to be run-off vote on November 7 involving Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his rival Dr Abdullah Abdullah. However, Dr Abdullah withdrew his candidacy, leaving the election a one-horse race. There are frantic behind-the–scenes efforts to get the election back on track. Mr Ban will meet both election candidates to try and find a workable solution. A U.N. statement said: "The Secretary-General will meet Dr Abdullah Abdullah and President Hamid Karzai to assure them and the Afghan people of the continuing support of the United Nations toward the development of the country.”


The run-off was happening because of a fraud inquiry that cast doubt on the national election results. Mr Karzai agreed to a new poll for the sake of “national unity”. He was also probably under a lot of pressure from Western powers. The USA, in particular, wants to see a very democratic Afghanistan. If the US public sees anything different, Barack Obama will have problems explaining what US troops are doing overseas. Dr Abdullah’s decision not to run has put a spanner in the works. It now seems likely that Harmid Karzai will remain as the Afghan president unless Ban Ki-Moon can bring the two men together. A spokesman said: "Karzai knows that he can't run the country without the support of Abdullah."


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. AFGHANISTAN: Walk around the class and talk to other students about Afghanistan. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

United Nations / crisis / election / rivals / one-horse race / finding solutions / support / fraud inquiries / casting doubts / national unity / U.S. troops / spanner in the works

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. WORKABLE SOLUTION: What should happen in Afghanistan? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you heard.

SOLUTION

Workable?

Why (not)?

All foreign troops out

 

 

Lots more troops

 

 

Share power with Taliban

 

 

250,000 UN peacekeepers

 

 

More cash for Afghan army

 

 

Talk to the Taliban

 

 

4. PEACE: Students A strongly believe peace will come to Afghanistan; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. BASICS: What basic things does Afghanistan need? Rank these and share your rankings with your partner. Put the most important thing at the top. Change partners and share your ratings again.

  • Democratic elections
  • More schools
  • A pullout of foreign troops
  • National unity
  • A better police force
  • The destruction of poppy fields
  • Overseas investment
  • A ceasefire

6. CRISIS: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘crisis’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

The head of the U.N. wants to be president of Afghanistan.

T / F

b.

There will be an election in Afghanistan on November 7.

T / F

c.

The two election candidates will watch a race that has just one horse.

T / F

d.

The U.N. General-Secretary promised the Afghan people U.N. support.

T / F

e.

The last election was the subject of an investigation over fraud.

T / F

f.

The Afghan President saw the need for a new election.

T / F

g.

The Afghan President’s rival used a spanner to make something work.

T / F

h.

President Karzai said he can no longer run because of his age.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

1.

chief

a.

pulled out

2

crisis

b.

stay

3.

withdrew

c.

corruption

4.

frantic

d.

disbelief

5.

solution

e.

emergency

6.

fraud

f.

boss

7.

doubt

g.

manage

8.

likely

h.

answer

9.

remain

i.

probable

10.

run

j.

frenzied

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

The U.N. chief is trying

a.

United Nations

2

a one-horse

b.

solution

3.

try and find a workable

c.

the country

4.

the continuing support of the

d.

of the country

5.

the development

e.

of pressure

6.

cast doubt

f.

the works

7.

under a lot

g.

race

8.

put a spanner in

h.

as the Afghan president

9.

Karzai will remain

i.

to help

10.

he can't run

j.

on the national election

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

The General-Secretary of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon has ____________ Afghanistan. The U.N. chief is trying to help in the ____________ over the upcoming election. There was to be a run-off vote on November 7 involving Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his ____________ Dr Abdullah Abdullah. However, Dr Abdullah withdrew his candidacy, leaving the election a one-____________ race. There are frantic behind-the–scenes efforts to get the election back on ____________. Mr Ban will meet both election candidates to try and find a workable ____________. A U.N. statement said: "The Secretary-General will meet Dr Abdullah Abdullah and President Hamid Karzai to ____________ them and the Afghan people of the continuing support of the United Nations ____________ the development of the country.”

 

 

 

assure
horse
crisis
solution
visited
toward
rival
track

The run-off was happening because of a ____________ inquiry that cast doubt on the national election results. Mr Karzai agreed to a new poll for the ____________ of “national unity”. He was also probably under a lot of ____________ from Western powers. The USA, in particular, wants to see a very democratic Afghanistan. If the US public sees anything ____________, Barack Obama will have problems explaining what US troops are doing ____________. Dr Abdullah’s decision not to run has put a spanner in the works. It now seems likely that Hamid Karzai will ____________ as the Afghan president unless Ban Ki-Moon can ____________ the two men together. A spokesman said: "Karzai knows that he can't ____________ the country without the support of Abdullah."

 

 

bring
pressure
sake
overseas
run
fraud
different
remain

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

The General-Secretary of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon has visited Afghanistan. The U.N. _______________ help in the crisis over the upcoming election. There _______________ -off vote on November 7 involving Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his rival Dr Abdullah Abdullah. However, Dr Abdullah withdrew his candidacy, leaving the election _______________. There are frantic behind-the–scenes efforts to get the election back on track. Mr Ban _______________ election candidates to try and find a workable solution. A U.N. statement said: "The Secretary-General will meet Dr Abdullah Abdullah and President Hamid Karzai _______________ and the Afghan people of the continuing support of the United Nations toward the development _______________.”

The run-off was happening because _______________ that cast doubt on the national election results. Mr Karzai agreed _______________ the sake of “national unity”. He was also probably under a lot of pressure from Western powers. The USA, in particular, _______________ very democratic Afghanistan. If _________________ anything different, Barack Obama will have problems explaining what US troops are doing overseas. Dr Abdullah’s decision not to run has put a spanner in the works. It now _______________ Hamid Karzai will remain as the Afghan president unless Ban Ki-Moon can bring the two men together. A spokesman said: "Karzai knows that _______________ country without the support of Abdullah."


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘national’ and ‘election’.

national

election

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • trying
  • involving
  • horse
  • track
  • workable
  • meet
  • cast
  • unity
  • pressure
  • overseas
  • remain
  • run

STUDENT AFGHANISTAN SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about Afghanistan in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

AFGHANISTAN DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘election’?

c)

What do you know about the recent Afghan elections?

d)

What effect do you think elections will have in Afghanistan?

e)

What do you think of Hamid Karzai?

f)

What are elections in your country like?

g)

What kind of rivalry is there between the leaders of your country’s main political parties?

h)

What do you think Mr Karzai and Dr Abdullah would talk about?

i)

Do you think there is a workable solution for Afghanistan?

j)

Do you think General-Secretary Ban Ki-Moon is good at his job?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Are elections in your country run well?

c)

How important is it for people to vote?

d)

Do you think Hamid Karzai listens to the US President and other western leaders?

e)

Why isn’t there national unity in Afghanistan right now?

f)

Have you ever put a spanner in the works?

g)

Hamid Karzai will probably continue as the unelected leader of Afghanistan. Is this a problem?

h)

Do you think Dr Abdullah should run for president?

i)

How can the international community make sure elections in Afghanistan are free and fair?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Hamid Karzai?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

The General-Secretary of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon has visited Afghanistan. The U.N. (1) ____ is trying to help in the crisis (2) ____ the upcoming election. There was to be a run-off vote on November 7 involving Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his (3) ____ Dr Abdullah Abdullah. However, Dr Abdullah withdrew his candidacy, leaving the election a one-horse race. There are (4) ____ behind-the–scenes efforts to get the election back on track. Mr Ban will meet both election candidates to try and find a (5) ____ solution. A U.N. statement said: "The Secretary-General will meet Dr Abdullah Abdullah and President Hamid Karzai to (6) ____ them and the Afghan people of the continuing support of the United Nations toward the development of the country.”

The run-off was happening because of a fraud inquiry that (7) ____ doubt on the national election results. Mr Karzai agreed to a new (8) ____ for the sake of “national unity”. He was also probably (9) ____ a lot of pressure from Western powers. The USA, in (10) ____, wants to see a very democratic Afghanistan. If the US public sees anything different, Barack Obama will have problems explaining what US troops are doing overseas. Dr Abdullah’s decision not to run has put a spanner in the works. It now seems (11) ____ that Hamid Karzai will remain as the Afghan president unless Ban Ki-Moon can bring the two men together. A spokesman said: "Karzai knows that he can't run the country without the (12) ____ of Abdullah."

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

chef

(b)

chiefly

(c)

chefs

(d)

chief

2.

(a)

over

(b)

on

(c)

under

(d)

through

3.

(a)

rivalry

(b)

rival

(c)

rivaling

(d)

rivaled

4.

(a)

fanatic

(b)

fantastic

(c)

frantic

(d)

futuristic

5.

(a)

workaholic

(b)

work rate

(c)

workable

(d)

worked up

6.

(a)

insure

(b)

assure

(c)

sure

(d)

pressure

7.

(a)

past

(b)

last

(c)

fast

(d)

cast

8.

(a)

poll

(b)

pole

(c)

pull

(d)

pill

9.

(a)

over

(b)

under

(c)

around

(d)

beneath

10.

(a)

particularly

(b)

peculiar

(c)

particle

(d)

particular

11.

(a)

liking

(b)

liked

(c)

likely

(d)

likewise

12.

(a)

support

(b)

supportive

(c)

supported

(d)

supporting

WRITING

Write about Afghanistan for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about Afghanistan. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. AFGHANISTAN: Make a poster about Afghanistan and its recent history. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. SOLUTION: Write a magazine article about the solution to Afghanistan’s problems. Include imaginary interviews with an Afghan and Barack Obama.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to Hamid Karzai. Ask him three questions about Afghanistan. Give him three opinions on how to resolve the situation in his country. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

F

b.

F

c.

F

d.

T

e.

T

f.

T

g.

F

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

chief

a.

boss

2

crisis

b.

emergency

3.

withdrew

c.

pulled out

4.

frantic

d.

frenzied

5.

solution

e.

answer

6.

fraud

f.

corruption

7.

doubt

g.

disbelief

8.

likely

h.

probable

9.

remain

i.

stay

10.

run

j.

manage

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

The U.N. chief is trying

a.

to help

2

a one-horse

b.

race

3.

try and find a workable

c.

solution

4.

the continuing support of the

d.

United Nations

5.

the development

e.

of the country

6.

cast doubt

f.

on the national election

7.

under a lot

g.

of pressure

8.

put a spanner in

h.

the works

9.

Karzai will remain

i.

as the Afghan president

10.

he can't run

j.

the country

GAP FILL:

U.N. boss in Afghan election mission

The General-Secretary of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon has visited Afghanistan. The U.N. chief is trying to help in the crisis over the upcoming election. There was to be a run-off vote on November 7 involving Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his rival Dr Abdullah Abdullah. However, Dr Abdullah withdrew his candidacy, leaving the election a one-horse race. There are frantic behind-the–scenes efforts to get the election back on track. Mr Ban will meet both election candidates to try and find a workable solution. A U.N. statement said: "The Secretary-General will meet Dr Abdullah Abdullah and President Hamid Karzai to assure them and the Afghan people of the continuing support of the United Nations toward the development of the country.”

The run-off was happening because of a fraud inquiry that cast doubt on the national election results. Mr Karzai agreed to a new poll for the sake of “national unity”. He was also probably under a lot of pressure from Western powers. The USA, in particular, wants to see a very democratic Afghanistan. If the US public sees anything different, Barack Obama will have problems explaining what US troops are doing overseas. Dr Abdullah’s decision not to run has put a spanner in the works. It now seems likely that Hamid Karzai will remain as the Afghan president unless Ban Ki-Moon can bring the two men together. A spokesman said: "Karzai knows that he can't run the country without the support of Abdullah."

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - a

3 - b

4 - c

5 - c

6 - b

7 - d

8 - a

9 - b

10 - d

11 - c

12 - a

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