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NPR 2010-02-24

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From NPR News in Washington, I’m Korva Coleman.

A House panel is hearing about problems with some Toyota vehicles. Some lawmakers say Toyota is wrong to insist acceleration1 problems have nothing to do with faulty electronics. Democratic Congressman2 Ed Markey of Massachusetts has also meant Toyota seems to be evading3 tough questions. “Toyota’s response to increased scrutiny4 of its safety record leaves much to be desired. In recent days, we have learned of internal documents that cite Toyota’s success at limiting the outcome of the government's safety investigations6 which reportedly save $100 million. Saving money should not come at the expense of saving lives.” One Toyota owner testified about her car’s electronic trouble. Her Lexus hit 100 mph. She couldn’t stop or turn off the vehicle.

Consumer confidence took an unexpectedly steep tumble this month. The drop appears to be tied to concern about the job market. NPR’s Jim Zarroli reports.

The Conference Board said its Index of Consumer Confidence fell from 56.5 in January to a ten-month low of 46 in February. That was a much bigger decline than economists7 had expected. The organization said consumers were more pessimistic about current economic conditions than at any time in 27 years. The number of people who expect business conditions to improve over the next six months was also down sharply. The Conference Board said people responding to the survey were noticeably more worried about the job market and about their individual income prospects8. Consumer confidence is considered a good barometer9 of economic health and the drop in the index suggests that consumer spending will decline, something that could slow the economic recovery. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

The community group ACORN10 denies reports it’s ceasing operations, but two of its biggest state chapters have split off. More are likely to do the same, as NPR’s Pan Fessler reports.

ACORN has been under fire since the release of undercover video showing its workers advising a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute. Congress banned government funding and many foundations ceased giving to the group which works in low-income communities. That’s caused a major strain for ACORN. In this month, the New York chapter dissolved and reconstituted itself as New York Communities for Change. A spokesman for that group says former New York ACORN officials felt their work was hampered11 by the controversy12, and that it was necessary to form something new. ACORN’s California chapter did the same last month. ACORN spokesman Kevin Whelan says the national group still exists and has members across the country, although its work has been significantly diminished. Pan Fessler, NPR New, Washington.

Former Vice13 President Dick Cheney has suffered a mild heart attack. A Cheney aide says he’s resting comfortably in a Washington, D.C. hospital and he’s well and expected to be released by the end of the week.

On Wall Street, the Dow was down 76 points at 10,307.

You’re listening to NPR News.

Congressional economists say between one and two million people found work last year because of the newly passed economic stimulus14 law. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the law boosted the US economy; it is unclear by how much. The CBO estimates it’s between 1.5% and 3.5%. The CBO says even though the US economy struggled last year, it does not mean the stimulus package failed.

Russia is seeing a wave of anti-government protests as members of Russia’s Communist Party demonstrated in central Moscow, calling for more investments in social programs and a stronger army. NPR’s David Greene has this report.

It's an orderly crowd carrying photos of Joseph Stalin waving worn-out flags with the hammer and sickle15. They were marking a holiday honoring the former Red Army, but 62-year-old Kvetoslav Zelaya said he came to condemn16 his leaders. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, he said, is our enemy. Recently at annual demonstrations17 like this and other protests, Russians have voiced anger at their government and the state of the economy. Nikolai Petrov is a political analyst18 at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “The social temperature is pretty high, and this kind of protest movements can appear any time and almost any region.” And so far, Russian authorities have not stood in the way. David Greene, NPR News, Moscow.

An apology by the top US commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan is airing in translation there. General Stanley McChrystal is apologizing for a NATO air strike that killed at least 21 civilians19. McChrystal says an investigation5 will find out what went wrong, so it will never happen again.

I’m Korva Coleman, NPR News.
 


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 acceleration ff8ya     
n.加速,加速度
参考例句:
  • All spacemen must be able to bear acceleration.所有太空人都应能承受加速度。
  • He has also called for an acceleration of political reforms.他同时呼吁加快政治改革的步伐。
2 Congressman TvMzt7     
n.(美)国会议员
参考例句:
  • He related several anecdotes about his first years as a congressman.他讲述自己初任议员那几年的几则轶事。
  • The congressman is meditating a reply to his critics.这位国会议员正在考虑给他的批评者一个答复。
3 evading 6af7bd759f5505efaee3e9c7803918e5     
逃避( evade的现在分词 ); 避开; 回避; 想不出
参考例句:
  • Segmentation of a project is one means of evading NEPA. 把某一工程进行分割,是回避《国家环境政策法》的一种手段。 来自英汉非文学 - 环境法 - 环境法
  • Too many companies, she says, are evading the issue. 她说太多公司都在回避这个问题。
4 scrutiny ZDgz6     
n.详细检查,仔细观察
参考例句:
  • His work looks all right,but it will not bear scrutiny.他的工作似乎很好,但是经不起仔细检查。
  • Few wives in their forties can weather such a scrutiny.很少年过四十的妻子经得起这么仔细的观察。
5 investigation MRKzq     
n.调查,调查研究
参考例句:
  • In an investigation,a new fact became known, which told against him.在调查中新发现了一件对他不利的事实。
  • He drew the conclusion by building on his own investigation.他根据自己的调查研究作出结论。
6 investigations 02de25420938593f7db7bd4052010b32     
(正式的)调查( investigation的名词复数 ); 侦查; 科学研究; 学术研究
参考例句:
  • His investigations were intensive and thorough but revealed nothing. 他进行了深入彻底的调查,但没有发现什么。
  • He often sent them out to make investigations. 他常常派他们出去作调查。
7 economists 2ba0a36f92d9c37ef31cc751bca1a748     
n.经济学家,经济专家( economist的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The sudden rise in share prices has confounded economists. 股价的突然上涨使经济学家大惑不解。
  • Foreign bankers and economists cautiously welcomed the minister's initiative. 外国银行家和经济学家对部长的倡议反应谨慎。 来自《简明英汉词典》
8 prospects fkVzpY     
n.希望,前途(恒为复数)
参考例句:
  • There is a mood of pessimism in the company about future job prospects. 公司中有一种对工作前景悲观的情绪。
  • They are less sanguine about the company's long-term prospects. 他们对公司的远景不那么乐观。
9 barometer fPLyP     
n.气压表,睛雨表,反应指标
参考例句:
  • The barometer marked a continuing fall in atmospheric pressure.气压表表明气压在继续下降。
  • The arrow on the barometer was pointing to"stormy".气压计上的箭头指向“有暴风雨”。
10 acorn JoJye     
n.橡实,橡子
参考例句:
  • The oak is implicit in the acorn.橡树孕育于橡子之中。
  • The tree grew from a small acorn.橡树从一粒小橡子生长而来。
11 hampered 3c5fb339e8465f0b89285ad0a790a834     
妨碍,束缚,限制( hamper的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • The search was hampered by appalling weather conditions. 恶劣的天气妨碍了搜寻工作。
  • So thought every harassed, hampered, respectable boy in St. Petersburg. 圣彼德堡镇的那些受折磨、受拘束的体面孩子们个个都是这么想的。
12 controversy 6Z9y0     
n.争论,辩论,争吵
参考例句:
  • That is a fact beyond controversy.那是一个无可争论的事实。
  • We ran the risk of becoming the butt of every controversy.我们要冒使自己在所有的纷争中都成为众矢之的的风险。
13 vice NU0zQ     
n.坏事;恶习;[pl.]台钳,老虎钳;adj.副的
参考例句:
  • He guarded himself against vice.他避免染上坏习惯。
  • They are sunk in the depth of vice.他们堕入了罪恶的深渊。
14 stimulus 3huyO     
n.刺激,刺激物,促进因素,引起兴奋的事物
参考例句:
  • Regard each failure as a stimulus to further efforts.把每次失利看成对进一步努力的激励。
  • Light is a stimulus to growth in plants.光是促进植物生长的一个因素。
15 sickle eETzb     
n.镰刀
参考例句:
  • The gardener was swishing off the tops of weeds with a sickle.园丁正在用镰刀嗖嗖地割掉杂草的顶端。
  • There is a picture of the sickle on the flag. 旗帜上有镰刀的图案。
16 condemn zpxzp     
vt.谴责,指责;宣判(罪犯),判刑
参考例句:
  • Some praise him,whereas others condemn him.有些人赞扬他,而有些人谴责他。
  • We mustn't condemn him on mere suppositions.我们不可全凭臆测来指责他。
17 demonstrations 0922be6a2a3be4bdbebd28c620ab8f2d     
证明( demonstration的名词复数 ); 表明; 表达; 游行示威
参考例句:
  • Lectures will be interspersed with practical demonstrations. 讲课中将不时插入实际示范。
  • The new military government has banned strikes and demonstrations. 新的军人政府禁止罢工和示威活动。
18 analyst gw7zn     
n.分析家,化验员;心理分析学家
参考例句:
  • What can you contribute to the position of a market analyst?你有什么技能可有助于市场分析员的职务?
  • The analyst is required to interpolate values between standards.分析人员需要在这些标准中插入一些值。
19 civilians 2a8bdc87d05da507ff4534c9c974b785     
平民,百姓( civilian的名词复数 ); 老百姓
参考例句:
  • the bloody massacre of innocent civilians 对无辜平民的血腥屠杀
  • At least 300 civilians are unaccounted for after the bombing raids. 遭轰炸袭击之后,至少有300名平民下落不明。
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