Week in Review – Wildfires and Winter Olympics

California Wildfires

The wildfires in California have expanded and have now scorched an area larger than New York City. The fires consumed 930 km2 just in the past week. So far it is the fifth largest wildfire in recorded State history and has the potential to become one of the worst fires in Californian history. It was named Thomas after the place where it originally started near the Thomas Aqinas College.

So far only 10% of the fire is contained as it spreads continuously and starts anew in other places. Furthermore, the location and the mountainous terrain make it much more difficult for fire fighters to battle the flames. So far 800 buildings have been destroyed and 200.000 people have been evacuated, especially in the coastal beach communities.

Low humidity and parched grounds benefit the wildfires. Donald Trump declared a state of emergency and the state has raised purple alert, which is the highest one. The California governor declared it the “new normal” and predicted vast fires in the future that could happen every year. The state fears for its agricultural industry. So far one person has died in the flames and a few fire fighters have been wounded after the week long battle against the flames.

to expand (ɪkˈspænd) – etw erweitern, ausbreiten
to scorch (skɔ:) – etw versengen
to consume (kənˈsju:m) – etw verzehren, vertilgen
recorded (rɪˈkɔ:dɪd) – verzeichnet, dokumentiert
to contain (kənˈtn) – hier: etw in Grenzen halten, etw zurückhalten
continuously (kənˈtɪnjsli) – dauernd, ununterbrochen
mountainous (ˈmntɪnəs) – bergig, gebirgig
terrain (təˈrn) – das Gelände, Gebiet
to battle (ˈbæt) – etw bekämpfen
to destroy (dɪˈstrɔɪ) – etw zerstören
low (ləʊ) – niedrig
humidity (hju:ˈmɪdəti) – Luftfeuchtigkeit
parched (pɑ:t) – vertrocknet, verdorrt
to benefit (ˈbenɪfɪt) – etw begünstigen
to declare (dɪˈklʳ) – etw verkünden, bekanntmachen
purple (ˈpɜ:p) – violet, lila
vast (vɑ:st) – gewaltig, riesig
agricultural industry (ˌægriˈkʌlərəl ˈɪndəstri) – Landwirtschaftsindustrie, Agrarindustrie

South Korea prepares for the Winter Olympics

In February 2018 South Korea will host the Winter Olympics. On Tuesday earlier this week they conducted a series of security drills to prepare against terror attacks. They practised for different scenarios like a hostage situation, a vehicle ramming a stadium and a bomb attached to a drone. Additionally, they mocked attacks with SWAT teams and practiced to remove a chemical bomb.

With Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un threatening to unleash fire and bombs the situation is quite tensed and South Korea and the Olympic Committee promised to do everything they can to ensure the athletes safety.

420 people participated in the drill, among them the military, fire fighters and police. The exercise was held outside the Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang. A clearly laid out evacuation plan is ready for execution. South Korea hopes that the Winter Olympics will be a diplomatic opening to defuse the situation but so far North Korea has not yet confirmed its participation.

to host (həʊst) – etw ausrichten, präesentieren
to conduct (kənˈdʌkt) – etw abhalten, durchführen
drill (drɪl) – die Übung, Probe
to prepare (prɪˈpʳ) – etw vorbereiten
hostage (ˈhɒstɪʤ) – die Geisel
to attach (əˈtæ) – etw befestigen, anbringen
to mock (mɒk) – etw nachmachen, nachstellen
to unleash (ʌnˈli:ʃ) – etw entfesseln, loslassen
tense (ten(t)s) – angespannt
to ensure (ɪnˈʃɔ:ʳ) – etw sicherstellen, garantieren
to participate (pɑ:ˈtɪsɪpt) – teilnehmen
execution (ˌeksɪˈkju:ʃən) – die Durchführung, Ausführung
to defuse (di:ˈfju:z) – etw entschärfen
to confirm (kənˈfɜ:m) – etw bestätigen