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Rail Link to Rival Panama Canal (16th February, 2011)

China and Colombia are planning to build a rail link across Colombia to transport goods between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The project will be a rival to the Panama Canal. China says it needs the railway to further its economic plans in Latin America and beyond. Colombia needs the investment and the jobs the link would create. Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said: "It's a real proposal...and it is quite advanced.” The 450-km line would be shorter than the 550km railway China built to Tibet.

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The new railway will be another way of making the world smaller, and more connected. It will hopefully make some things cheaper. The fastest overland route between the two oceans is by rail from California to America’s East Coast, but that’s very expensive. The Panama Canal offers a slower but cheaper alternative. The Trans-Colombian railway will be a welcome addition to South America’s transport links. Exporters from Brazil, Argentina and other countries will benefit from cheaper transportation costs because the railway is nearer than Panama.

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PHRASE MATCH

Match the following phrases from the article.

Paragraph 1

1.

planning to build a rail link

a.

Panama Canal

2

a rival to the

b.

proposal

3.

further its economic

c.

to Tibet

4.

the jobs the link

d.

across Colombia

5.

It's a real

e.

plans

6.

the 550km railway China built

f.

would create

 

Paragraph 2

1.

another way of making the

a.

cheaper alternative

2

It will hopefully make some

b.

route

3.

The fastest overland

c.

addition

4.

a slower but

d.

world smaller

5.

a welcome

e.

transportation costs

6.

benefit from cheaper

f.

things cheaper


LISTENING GAP FILL

China and Colombia are planning ____________________ across Colombia ____________________ between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The project ____________________ the Panama Canal. China says it needs the railway ____________________ economic plans in Latin America and beyond. Colombia needs the investment and the jobs the ____________________. Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said: "It's ____________________...and it is quite advanced.” The 450-km line would be shorter than the 550km railway China built to Tibet.

The new railway will ____________________ making the world smaller, ____________________. It will hopefully make some things cheaper. The ____________________ between the two oceans is by rail from California to America’s East Coast, but that’s very expensive. The Panama Canal ____________________ cheaper alternative. The Trans-Colombian railway ____________________ addition to South America’s transport links. Exporters from Brazil, Argentina and other countries will ____________________ transportation costs because the railway is nearer than Panama.


MULTIPLE CHOICE

China and Colombia are planning to build a rail (1) ____ across Colombia to transport goods between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The project will be a (2) ____ to the Panama Canal. China says it needs the railway to (3) ____ its economic plans in Latin America and (4) ____. Colombia needs the investment and the jobs the link would create. Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said: "It's a (5) ____ proposal...and it is quite advanced.” The 450-km line would be shorter than the 550km railway China (6) ____ to Tibet.

The new railway will be another way of making the world smaller, and more (7) ____. It will hopefully make some things cheaper. The fastest overland route between the two oceans (8) ____ by rail from California to America’s East Coast, but that’s very expensive. The Panama Canal offers a slower   (9) ____ cheaper alternative. The Trans-Colombian railway will be a       (10) ____ addition to South America’s transport links. Exporters (11) ____ Brazil, Argentina and other countries will benefit from cheaper transportation costs because the railway is (12) ____ than Panama.

Put the correct words from this table into the article.

1.

(a)

rink

(b)

sink

(c)

link

2.

(a)

rival

(b)

rivalry

(c)

rivals

3.

(a)

far

(b)

further

(c)

farther

4.

(a)

far

(b)

beyond

(c)

most

5.

(a)

reality

(b)

really

(c)

real

6.

(a)

build

(b)

built

(c)

builds

7.

(a)

connected

(b)

connects

(c)

connection

8.

(a)

are

(b)

be

(c)

is

9.

(a)

so

(b)

however

(c)

but

10.

(a)

greetings

(b)

welcome

(c)

polite

11.

(a)

from

(b)

by

(c)

at

12

(a)

farther

(b)

in

(c)

nearer


SPELLING

Spell the jumbled words (from the text) correctly.

Paragraph 1

1.

annipnlg to build a rail

2.

tnroatpsr goods

3.

a laivr to the Panama Canal

4.

economic lapsn

5.

a real pprolosa

6.

uqeit advanced

 

Paragraph 2

7.

mkinag the world smaller

8.

more nocdecetn

9.

overland oteru

10.

a slower but chaepre alternative

11.

a lwomcee addition

12.

other countries will iebfnte


PUT THE TEXT BACK TOGETHER

Number these lines in the correct order.

(    )

but cheaper alternative. The Trans-Colombian railway will be a welcome addition to South America’s transport

(    )

the railway to further its economic plans in Latin America and beyond. Colombia needs the investment

(    )

"It's a real proposal...and it is quite advanced.” The 450-km line would

(    )

be shorter than the 550km railway China built to Tibet.

(    )

Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The project will be a rival to the Panama Canal. China says it needs

(    )

The new railway will be another way of making the world smaller, and more

(    )

between the two oceans is by rail from California to America’s East Coast, but that’s very expensive. The Panama Canal offers a slower

(    )

connected. It will hopefully make some things cheaper. The fastest overland route

1  )

China and Colombia are planning to build a rail link across Colombia to transport goods between the

(    )

links. Exporters from Brazil, Argentina and other countries will benefit  from cheaper transportation costs because the railway is nearer than Panama.

(    )

and the jobs the link would create. Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said:


WORD JUMBLE

With a partner, put the words back into the correct order.

1.

a     rail     Planning     link     to     across     build     Colombia.    

2.

the    Panama    Canal    The    project    will    be    a    rival    to.   

3.

Latin     in     plans     economic     its     Further     America.    

4.

Colombia     jobs     the     and     investment     the     needs.    

5.

Tibet     to     built     China     railway     550km     The.    

6.

smaller     world     the     making     of     way     Another.    

7.

things     some     make     hopefully     will     It     cheaper.    

8.

between     The     the     fastest     two     overland     oceans     route.    

9.

but     slower     A     alternative     cheaper.    

10.

costs     transportation     cheaper     from     Benefit.    


DISCUSSION (Write your own questions)

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

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________

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

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

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________


WRITING

Write about railways for 10 minutes. Show your partner your paper. Correct each other’s work.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________


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. RAILWAYS: Search the Internet and find more information about railways. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about the Trans-Colombian railway. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against it. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

4. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

5. LETTER: Write a letter to Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos. Ask him three questions about the railway link. Give him three of your opinions on it. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Your partner will answer the questions you asked.

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