5-speed listening (Balloons and Aliens - Level 3)

White House says no aliens in weather balloons



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Medium (N. American English - soon)



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Strange goings-on are happening in the skies above North America. This month, US fighter jets have shot down four UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) in US and Canadian airspace. Officials said the objects were balloons that were causing a danger to airplanes. They were flying at an altitude of around 40,000 feet (12,200 metres). The White House said yesterday that there were no signs the objects were linked to alien life. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said: "I don't think the American people need to worry about aliens with respect to these crafts." Earlier in the week, a US official said aliens could not be counted out as a possible explanation for the balloons.

The balloon saga has created tit-for-tat exchanges between the USA and China. US officials suspect the balloons were being used for spying. However, they have no proof of this. Rescue teams have gathered debris from the balloons off the US coast. Experts are currently looking at the electronics they have found. China said the balloons were for tracking weather patterns. It has denied they were spy balloons. Beijing has claimed that US high-altitude balloons have flown in China's airspace without permission more than ten times in the past year. The White House said this was untrue. A balloon shooting in early February resulted in US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelling a visit to China.

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