5-speed listening (2021 in Review - Level 6)

2021 not as bad as 2020, says think tank



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An influential think tank has suggested that the year 2021 wasn't as bad as 2020. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is a United States not-for-profit body of experts specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. It celebrated its centenary in 2021. It stated that 2021 "wasn't as tumultuous as 2020, which put in a claim to be the worst year ever". However, there was still plenty of dreadful news. Number one on the bad news list was the world's failure to properly address the climate change challenge. This led to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres declaring "a code red for humanity". Other top-ten stories included the mutating of the coronavirus, mass migration, the supply chain crisis, and the Taliban returning to power.

The CFR asserted that 2021 did bring some good news. It said: "For a moment in early summer, it seemed that COVID-19 was in the rearview mirror." On the brighter side, more than 9 billion covid-19 vaccinations were administered globally. Many notable achievements occurred in 2021. NASA's Perseverance rover successfully "drilled, extracted and stored a sample of Martian rock" for the very first time. In health news, "after decades of targeted and sustained action," the WHO declared China free of malaria. There was also good news regarding sustainability as United Airlines flew the first passenger aircraft with 100 per cent sustainable fuel. And… cheese lovers were guaranteed there is "no evidence that cheese causes weight gain".

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