Week in Review – Sowfall in Rome, Spotify is Going Public and Trump on Gun Reform

Rare Snowfall in Rome

Snow made a rare appearance in Rome on Monday. Schools, public parks and cemeteries were closed, hundreds of shops were shuttered and public transport was brought to a still stand. Top tourist attractions like the Forum Romanum and the Colosseum were closed as well. The army was enlisted to spread salt and to shovel slush from the streets where dozens of cars were stranded.

Rome´s parks became slopes for makeshift sledges and on St. Peter´s Square a snowball fight was started. Some people strapped on skis to slalom in the Circus Maximus, once the site of chariot races. A Siberian weather front brought ice and snow to many European cities – the weather front was nicknamed the Beast from the East and it sent temperatures plunging well below their seasonal average.

Obviously the city is not equipped to deal with this situation, the last time it snowed like that was in 2012 after a hiatus of almost 30 years. Monday brought four to 15 cm of snow. 1500 people and 190 vehicles were deployed to help clear the streets. Subway and train stations were kept open as emergency shelters for homeless people and 1000 blankets were distributed.

cemetery (ˈsemətəri) – der Friedhof
to shutter (ˈʃʌtəʳ) – einen Betrieb schließen, die Rolläden schließen
to enlist (ɪnˈlɪst) – jdn einstellen, sich melden
to spread (spred) – etw verbreiten, streuen
salt (sɔ:lt) – das Salz
to shovel (ˈʃʌvəl) – etw schaufeln, schippen
slush (slʌʃ) – der (Schnee)matsch
slope (sləʊp) – der Hang, die Piste
makeshift (mkʃɪft) – behelfsmäßig, provisorisch
sledge (sleʤ) – der Schlitten
to strap (stræp) – etw befestigen, anschnallen
nickname (ˈnɪknm) – etw scherzhaft nennen, Spitznamen geben
to plunge (plʌnʤ) – stürzen, fallen
average (ˈævərɪʤ) – im Durchschnitt
obviously (ˈɒbviəsli) – offensichtlich, deutlich
hiatus (hˈtəs) – die Unterbrechung, Pause
emergency shelter (ɪˈmɜ:ʤən(t)si ˈʃəltəʳ) – die Notunterkunft
blanket (ˈblæŋkɪt) – die Decke
to distribute (dɪˈstrɪbju:t) – etw verteilen

Spotify is going public

The Swedish streaming company was founded in 2006 and went active in 2008. Today it is the world´s biggest music streaming service and on Wednesday they announced they would go public and plans on trading its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. They will list their shares directly without going through the traditional stock offering process. For current shareholders that means they will take their shares directly to the market.

Spotify is active in 61 countries with 71 million paid subscriptions and 159 million active monthly users. The biggest market for Spotify is in Europe with 58 million monthly active users. The idea was rather risky from the beginning but the company was able to persuade major record labels to upload millions of songs for users to listen to without having to pay for the music. Of course, the labels receive royalties but it is less than they would get through traditional online sales.

And although it worked out quite well for Spotify they are still surrounded by threats – Apple, Amazon and Google are in the music streaming game as well and they all have hardware. At the moment Spotify estimated its value at $23 bn and if the evaluation is correct that would make Spotify one of the biggest public debuts of a tech company since 2012. Music streaming is the future, for Spotify cancellations went down and the time users spend on the platform increased.

to found (fnd) – etw gründen
to announce (əˈnn(t)s) – etw ankündigen, verkünden
to trade (trd) – handeln
share (ʃʳ) – der Anteil, die Aktie
current (ˈkʌrənt) – jetzig, gegenwärtig
shareholder (ʃʳˈhəʊldəʳ) – der Aktionär, Anteilseigner
subscription (səbˈskrɪpʃən) – Abonnementgebühr
to persuade (pəˈswd) – jdn überreden, überzeugen
major (ˈmʤəʳ) – bedeutend, wichtig
to receive (rɪˈsi:v) – etw erhalten, bekommen
royalty (ˈrɔɪəlti) – die Lizenzgebühren, Tantiemen
sale (sl) – der Verkauf
threat (θret) – die Drohung, Bedrohung
to estimate (ˈestɪmt) – etw einschätzen
value (ˈvælju:) – der Wert, Bedeutung
cancellation (ˌkæn(t)səlˈʃən) – die Absage
to increase (ɪnˈkri:s) – ansteigen, erhöhen, wachsen

Trump on Gun Reform

Donald Trump told lawmakers from both parties not to be petrified of the powerful gun lobby the National Rifles Association (NRA) in a live broadcast. He urged lawmakers to come up with a strong bipartisan reform bill with expanded background checks for gun buyers. The president claimed the NRA might have power over the parties but less about him.

These comments left the Republican Party a bit unsettled. The party is a strong proponent of the second amendment that governs the right to bear arms. Any restriction they see as an infringement to said right. The statements that were made by the president stand in contrast to past ones about protecting the second amendment. Furthermore, he received campaign support from the NRA. Many Republicans distanced themselves from the president´s comments.

Trump called for background checks to be more thorough at gun shows and online shops as well as in traditional stores. Additionally, he suggested raising the legal age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 and to give the police the right to take weapons away from people who seem to be unfit without a court order. On the other hand he repeatedly gave his support for arming teachers and reducing gun-free zones.

lawmaker (lɔ:ˈmeɪkəʳ) – der Gesetzgeber
to petrify (ˈpetrɪfaɪ) – versteinern, jdm Angst einjagen
broadcast (brɔ:d kɑ:st) – die Übertragung, Radiosendung
to urge (ɜ:ʤ) – jdn drängen
bipartisan (ˌbaɪpɑ:tɪˈzæn) – von zwei Parteien getragen
to expand (ɪkˈspæn) – etw erweitern, ausbreiten
unsettled (ʌnˈsetl̩d) – unruhig, nervös
proponent (prə(ʊ)ˈpəʊnənt) – Befürworter/in, Verfechter/in
amendment (əˈmen(d)mənt) – Zusatzartikel
to govern (ˈgʌvən) – etw regeln
to bear (beəʳ) – etw tragen
arms (arms) – die Waffen, Bewaffnung
restriction (rɪˈstrɪkʃən) – die Begrenzung, Beschränkung
infringement (ɪnˈfrɪnʤmənt) – der Verstoß
said (sed) – hier: genannt, besagt
to protect (prəˈtekt) – etw beschützen
thorough (ˈθʌrə) – gründlich, sorgfältig
to raise (reɪz) – etw anheben, erhöhen
unfit (ʌnˈfɪt) – ungeeignet
court order (kɔ:t ˈɔ:dəʳ) – der Gerichtsbeschluss
repeatedly (rɪˈpi:tɪdli) – wiederholt, mehrfach
to reduce (rɪˈdju:s) – etw verringern, runtersetzen