LESSON 20 - HELLO TO 2019 (01012019)


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People around the world are saying goodbye to what many considered to be a troubling year.

Here’s a look at how people are celebrating the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019.


The Pacific island nation of Kiribati was the first in the world to ring in the new year. In the capital Tarawa, many celebrated with church services and mostly quiet private events.

New Zealand

In Auckland, New Zealand, tens of thousands of people gathered around the 328-meter Sky Tower to watch a fireworks show. In other places, huge crowds gathered on beaches and streets as fireworks went off above city centers and seaports.


An estimated one million people crowded the Sydney Harbor, as Australia’s largest city began the new year with a memorable fireworks celebration. More than 1 billion people around the world were expected to watch the fireworks on television. This year’s fireworks show was one of the most complex in Australia’s history.

North and South Korea

Thousands of South Koreans were expected to fill the streets of the capital Seoul for a traditional bell ringing ceremony near City Hall.

And North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to give his yearly address on New Year’s Day. In his New Year’s speech last year, Kim spoke of talks with South Korea to reduce tensions and said the North would be willing to take part in South Korea’s Winter Olympics.


New Year’s Eve is not celebrated widely in mainland China. The lunar New Year in February is a more important holiday. But countdown events were being held in major cities.

Beijing held an event with important guests at the main site of the 2008 Summer Olympics. The event looked ahead to the 2022 Winter Games, which will also be held in the Chinese capital.

In Hong Kong, the city’s tallest building was brightly lit. There also was a show of fireworks, music and lights over Victoria Harbor. About 300,000 people were expected to gather along the port.


Hundreds of Thais traveled to a Buddhist religious center near the capital Bangkok to lie inside coffins for traditional funeral rituals. Those who take part believe the ceremony removes bad luck and permits them to be born again for a fresh start in the new year.

New York City

Famous musicians and people from all over the world will gather in Times Square in New York City to welcome 2019.

Watchers are expected to start gathering early in the afternoon Monday. The celebration will take place under strict security, as people wait for the traditional midnight crystal ball drop.

I’m Jonathan Evans.



Illegal poaching for products like rhino horn and ivory has driven many iconic species close to extinction. In South Africa, conservationists say a record 1,020 rhinos have been killed in 2014 alone. The total population for the whole of Africa is estimated at just over 5,000.

Addressing the International Corruption Hunters Alliance conference, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, an established conservationist who proposed to Kate Middleton while on holiday in a Kenyan game reserve, announced the formation of a task force to combat the trade.

“Specifically designed to work with the transport industry — from airlines to shipping lines — to examine its role in the illegal wildlife trade and identify means by which the sector can break the chain between suppliers and consumers," he said.

The prince also accused organized criminals of looting the planet to feed what he called mankind's "ignorant craving for exotic pets, trinkets (nữ trang rẻ tiền), cures and ornaments."

“Criminal gangs turn vast profits from the illegal killing or capture of wildlife; armed groups and terrorists swap (đổi chác) poached ivory for guns; and middle-men oil the wheels of the trade in return for reward,” he said.

That link between poaching and armed groups and terrorists is gaining increasing attention. In Kenya in recent weeks, Islamist al-Shabab militants based in Somalia have killed dozens of Kenyans in attacks on a bus and on non-Muslims working in a quarry.

At a recent conference on conservation and security, Kenya’s Secretary of State for the Environment Judi Wakhungu said the two issues can be viewed through the same policy lens.

“We share some very sensitive borders with countries such as Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia," she said. "Some of these problems have meant that we have faced increased levels of terrorism. And we do think that there is a connection to increased poaching.”

The fledgling concept of treating security threats and poaching as problems with similar policies has become known as Stabilcon — stabilization through conservation. Indigenous populations are central, says Ian Saunders, the brainchild of Stabilcon and founder of the Kenyan Tsavo Trust.

“To work at a human level, to provide an area that is conducive to both wildlife and humans into perpetuity, is vital for the stabilization of Kenya and the future of Kenya, and the future of many other countries,” he said.

Africa’s wildlife draws millions of tourists. But Saunders argues that wildlife must be protected for reasons beyond tourism — and that conservation can bring security.

With poaching expanding at an alarming rate, the search for a solution is becoming ever more urgent.

Henry Ridgwell
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