Sunday, September 29, 2013

Putin's Russia throws Greenpeace activists in jail

Greenpeace is an organization that was founded in the early 1970s to help protect the environment from harm.  The first action Greenpeace took was, in fact, in 1971 near a small island off the coast of Alaska, where the US government wanted to conduct an underground nuclear explosion.

Although Greenpeace was not able to stop that nuclear test, they caused so much negative publicity that no further tests were scheduled at the island.  The island is now, in fact, a bird sanctuary.

{publicity - basically this means news, or information about an event that is widely spread.}
{a bird sanctuary - a safe place for birds to live.}


Recently Greenpeace protested the fact that Russia is drilling for oil in the Arctic.  (The Arctic region is around the North Pole. Drilling means they are using technology to penetrate the ocean bottom to obtain oil. )  Greenpeace felt that such drilling was very dangerous and that it could cause an environmental disaster - especially an oil spill which might not be easily controlled.

{a protest - this is when one or more people openly complain about a situation which they feel is wrong.)

In response to the protest, Russia arrested everyone from Greenpeace, as well as two journalists, and the Russian government has thrown all of these people in jail.

Here is an article about this:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/russian-court-ruling-greenpeace-activists-20409836

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

an activist - someone who feels something is wrong and who takes action to stop that wrong thing

no leniency - no mercy; the court was very severe with the 30 members of Greenpeace

to be detained - to be held by the police; detained is similar to arrested

a marathon court session - a very, very long court session.  A marathon is a very long foot race.

it stretched late into the night - it continued late into the night

no charges have been brought against them - they have not been formally accused of any type of crime.

a prosecutor - this is a lawyer for the government who attempts to bring charges and find individuals to be guilty of various crimes.

piracy - the prosecutor is claiming that the Greenpeace members are pirates.

offenses - crimes

pending the investigation - while the investigation is happening and depending on what the results of the investigation are

to disrupt - to interrupt, to interfere with, to stop

The Coast Guard - every country with access to the sea has a Coast Guard - they act as police on the sea near the country.

to scale an offshore platform - to climb up a platform (piece of equipment) offshore (in the water)

to seize - to capture, to take

to tow a ship - when one ship pulls another ship

hostile - showing a sense of bad will

bombed the Rainbow Warrior - this was a ship which was, apparently, blown up by the French government because the ship was protesting French nuclear tests.

a deckhand - someone who works on the ship

a subsidiary - a branch, a smaller part of a larger company

an offshore rig - a giant piece of technology from which oil can be drilled in the ocean


to be deployed - to be sent somewhere to be used

its launch - its first use

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