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December 30, 2009

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U.S. Missile Shield Arms Talks Obstacle

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has told reporters that America’s anti-missile shield is preventing a new arms deal on reducing nuclear weapons. The USA and Russia are currently in talks to hammer out a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. A reporter asked Mr Putin what the biggest obstacle was. He replied: "What is the problem? The problem is that our American partners are building an anti-missile shield and we are not building one." Mr Putin added that America’s defense shield plan is a spanner in the works for global weapons cuts. He said it would create a very lopsided balance of power, which would force Russia to develop more and better long-range missiles.


The U.S. missile shield has been a thorn in Russia’s side since George W. Bush proposed it. It soured relations between Washington and Moscow for a decade. Russia saw the shield as a threat to its territory. Bush assured then president Putin the shield was to protect U.S. interests against attacks from Iran. President Barack Obama has attempted to erase Russia’s fears. He assured Russia he would scrap much of Bush’s plans. One of President Obama’s election promises was also to drastically reduce America’s nuclear stockpile. He said he wanted to “reset” relations with Russia. Putin asked Washington to share its missile shield plans to ease Russian concerns. He was also upbeat, saying negotiations were "developing positively".


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. NUCLEAR ARMS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about nuclear arms. 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.

 

missile shields / nuclear weapons / hammers / obstacles / spanner / balance of power / soured relations / threats / erasing fears / election promises / resetting relations

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

3. WEAPONS: What do you think of these weapons? Complete this table. Show what you wrote to your partner(s). Change partners and share what you heard.

 

My thoughts

How to rid the world of them

Nuclear

 

 

Lethal

 

 

Secret

 

 

Chemical

 

 

Biological

 

 

Cyber

 

 

4. NUCLEAR-FREE: Students A strongly believe the world will one day be free of nuclear weapons; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. RELATIONS: What are relations like between your country and these capitals? Talk about this with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you heard.

  • Washington
  • Moscow
  • Beijing
  • New Delhi
  • Cairo
  • Kabul
  • London
  • Tokyo

6. MISSILE: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘missile’. 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.

America believes its missile shield is a problem in arms reduction talks.

T / F

b.

America and Russia are designing a new kind of hammer.

T / F

c.

Russia is not constructing a missile defense shield.

T / F

d.

Mr Putin said a U.S. missile shield would be an unfair balance of power.

T / F

e.

The missile shield created frosty relations between America and Russia.

T / F

f.

George W. Bush wanted to use the missile shield to attack Iran.

T / F

g.

An Obama election promise was to strengthen America’s nuclear arms.

T / F

h.

Prime Minister Putin was not all negative about his talks with the USA.

T / F

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

1.

preventing

a.

danger

2

arms

b.

suggested

3.

obstacle

c.

significantly

4.

lopsided

d.

weapons

5.

force

e.

remove

6.

proposed

f.

reduce

7.

threat

g.

stopping

8.

erase

h.

push

9.

drastically

i.

barrier

10.

ease

j.

unbalanced

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

1.

America’s anti-

a.

talks

2

a new arms deal on

b.

the works

3.

currently in

c.

nuclear stockpile

4.

a spanner in

d.

Russia’s side

5.

create a very lopsided

e.

Washington and Moscow

6.

a thorn in

f.

missile shield

7.

It soured relations between

g.

attacks from Iran

8.

protect U.S. interests against

h.

reducing nuclear weapons

9.

drastically reduce America’s

i.

concerns

10.

ease Russian

j.

balance of power


WHILE READING / LISTENING

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

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has told reporters that America’s anti-missile shield is ____________ a new arms deal on reducing nuclear weapons. The USA and Russia are ____________ in talks to hammer out a ____________ to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. A reporter asked Mr Putin what the biggest ____________ was. He replied: "What is the problem? The problem is that our American ____________ are building an anti-missile shield and we are not building one." Mr Putin added that America’s defense shield plan is a ____________ in the works for global weapons cuts. He said it would create a very lopsided ____________ of power, which would force Russia to ____________ more and better long-range missiles.

 

 

 

obstacle
balance
successor
preventing
spanner
develop
currently
partners

The U.S. missile shield has been a ____________ in Russia’s side since George W. Bush proposed it. It ____________ relations between Washington and Moscow for a ____________. Russia saw the shield as a threat to its territory. Bush assured then president Putin the shield was to protect U.S. interests against attacks from Iran. President Barack Obama has attempted to ____________ Russia’s fears. He assured Russia he would ____________ much of Bush’s plans. One of President Obama’s election promises was also to ____________ reduce America’s nuclear stockpile. He said he wanted to “____________” relations with Russia. Putin asked Washington to share its missile shield plans to ease Russian concerns. He was also ____________, saying negotiations were "developing positively".

 

 

decade
scrap
upbeat
erase
thorn
drastically
reset
soured

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin __________________ that America’s anti-missile shield is preventing a new arms deal on reducing nuclear weapons. The USA and Russia are __________________ to hammer out a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. A reporter asked Mr Putin what __________________ was. He replied: "What is the problem? The problem is that our American partners are building an anti-missile shield and we are not building one." Mr Putin added that America’s defense shield plan is a __________________ works for global weapons cuts. He said it would create a very __________________ power, which would force Russia to __________________ better long-range missiles.

The U.S. missile shield has __________________ Russia’s side since George W. Bush proposed it. It soured relations between Washington and Moscow for a decade. Russia saw the shield as __________________ territory. Bush assured then president Putin the shield was to protect U.S. interests against attacks from Iran. President Barack Obama has __________________ Russia’s fears. He assured Russia he would scrap much of Bush’s plans. One of President Obama’s election promises was also to __________________ America’s nuclear stockpile. He said he wanted to “reset” relations with Russia. Putin asked Washington to share its missile shield __________________ Russian concerns. He __________________, saying negotiations were "developing positively".


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

missile

shield

 

 

 

  • 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:

  • reporters
  • hammer
  • obstacle
  • spanner
  • balance
  • range
  • thorn
  • threat
  • erase
  • reduce
  • reset
  • upbeat

STUDENT NUCLEAR WEAPONS SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about nuclear weapons 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.

NUCLEAR WEAPONS 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 ‘missile’?

c)

How big a threat do you think nuclear war is?

d)

What do you know about the history of arms talks between Russia and America?

e)

What do you know about America’s proposed anti-missile shield?

f)

How well armed is your country? Do you need more weapons?

g)

What would a world without any weapons be like?

h)

When was the last time you had to hammer something out?

i)

When was the last time there was a spanner in the works with a plan of yours?

j)

What do you think about the balance of power in today’s world?

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

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What has been a recent thorn in your side?

c)

What do you know about relations between George W. Bush and Moscow?

d)

Are there soured relations between you and anyone at the moment?

e)

Do you think America’s missile shield is a threat to Russia?

f)

Do you think we will ever be rid of nuclear weapons?

g)

What do you think the conclusion of the arms talks between the USA and Russia will be?

h)

Would you like to reset relations between your country and another?

i)

Are you upbeat about 2010?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Vladimir Putin?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has told reporters that America’s anti-missile shield is preventing a new arms (1) ____ on reducing nuclear weapons. The USA and Russia are (2) ____ in talks to hammer out a (3) ____ to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. A reporter asked Mr Putin what the biggest obstacle was. He replied: "What is the problem? The problem is that our American (4) ____ are building an anti-missile shield and we are not building one." Mr Putin added that America’s defense shield plan is a (5) ____ in the works for global weapons cuts. He said it would create a very lopsided balance of power, which would (6) ____ Russia to develop more and better long-range missiles.

The U.S. missile shield has been a (7) ____ in Russia’s side since George W. Bush proposed it. It soured relations between Washington and Moscow for a decade. Russia saw the shield as a (8) ____ to its territory. Bush assured then president Putin the shield was to protect U.S. interests against attacks from Iran. President Barack Obama has attempted to (9) ____ Russia’s fears. He assured Russia he would scrap much of Bush’s plans. One of President Obama’s election promises was also (10) ____ drastically reduce America’s nuclear stockpile. He said he wanted to “(11) ____” relations with Russia. Putin asked Washington to share its missile shield plans to ease Russian concerns. He was also (12) ____, saying negotiations were "developing positively".

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

1.

(a)

dealer

(b)

dealt

(c)

dealings

(d)

deal

2.

(a)

currently

(b)

present

(c)

currant

(d)

currency

3.

(a)

success

(b)

successful

(c)

successor

(d)

successes

4.

(a)

partner

(b)

partners

(c)

partnership

(d)

partnered

5.

(a)

hammer

(b)

spanner

(c)

screwdriver

(d)

drill

6.

(a)

farce

(b)

fierce

(c)

force

(d)

fleece

7.

(a)

thorn

(b)

leaf

(c)

petal

(d)

flower

8.

(a)

treat

(b)

treaty

(c)

threaten

(d)

threat

9.

(a)

rub

(b)

rubber

(c)

eraser

(d)

erase

10.

(a)

by

(b)

to

(c)

at

(d)

of

11.

(a)

reset

(b)

regret

(c)

repeat

(d)

request

12.

(a)

beat

(b)

downbeat

(c)

upbeat

(d)

beating

WRITING

Write about nuclear weapons 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 the arms reduction talks. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Make a poster about nuclear weapons. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. WEAPONS FREE: Write a magazine article about a weapons free world. Include imaginary interviews with a soldier and a peace activist.

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 Vladimir Putin. Ask him three questions about nuclear weapons. Give him three suggestions on how to deal with the USA. 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.

T

d.

T

e.

T

f.

F

g.

F

h.

T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

preventing

a.

stopping

2

arms

b.

weapons

3.

obstacle

c.

barrier

4.

lopsided

d.

unbalanced

5.

force

e.

push

6.

proposed

f.

suggested

7.

threat

g.

danger

8.

erase

h.

remove

9.

drastically

i.

significantly

10.

ease

j.

reduce

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

America’s anti-

a.

missile shield

2

a new arms deal on

b.

reducing nuclear weapons

3.

currently in

c.

talks

4.

a spanner in

d.

the works

5.

create a very lopsided

e.

balance of power

6.

a thorn in

f.

Russia’s side

7.

It soured relations between

g.

Washington and Moscow

8.

protect U.S. interests against

h.

attacks from Iran

9.

drastically reduce America’s

i.

nuclear stockpile

10.

ease Russian

j.

concerns

GAP FILL:

U.S. missile shield arms talks obstacle

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has told reporters that America’s anti-missile shield is preventing a new arms deal on reducing nuclear weapons. The USA and Russia are currently in talks to hammer out a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. A reporter asked Mr Putin what the biggest obstacle was. He replied: "What is the problem? The problem is that our American partners are building an anti-missile shield and we are not building one." Mr Putin added that America’s defense shield plan is a spanner in the works for global weapons cuts. He said it would create a very lopsided balance of power, which would force Russia to develop more and better long-range missiles.

The U.S. missile shield has been a thorn in Russia’s side since George W. Bush proposed it. It soured relations between Washington and Moscow for a decade. Russia saw the shield as a threat to its territory. Bush assured then president Putin the shield was to protect U.S. interests against attacks from Iran. President Barack Obama has attempted to erase Russia’s fears. He assured Russia he would scrap much of Bush’s plans. One of President Obama’s election promises was also to drastically reduce America’s nuclear stockpile. He said he wanted to “reset” relations with Russia. Putin asked Washington to share its missile shield plans to ease Russian concerns. He was also upbeat, saying negotiations were "developing positively".

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - a

3 - c

4 - b

5 - b

6 - c

7 - a

8 - d

9 - d

10 - b

11 - a

12 - c

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