[107] Boat refugees reach more than 3,000 monthly off Italy


Boat refugees reach more than 3,000 monthly off Italy: While the World focuses on the Sochi Olympics, Italian authorities have reported than in 24 hours alone, more than 1,000 people have travelled in unstable, dangerous boats, trying to reach the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa. Italian authorities estimate that most of the refugees are from Sub-Saharan Africa with others from North Africa. Most of them are fleeing war and poverty. Charity organizations have estimated that many thousands have died when overloaded boats sink in the open waters of the Mediterranean.


change of scenery

Ron: I take the same bus every day, work at the same desk, and eat lunch at the same cafeteria. I’ve been doing this for five years. I’m sick of it.

Colin: You need a change of scenery. Why don’t you get out of the office on your lunch hour and eat a sandwich by the lake? It will make you feel better.

Explanation: A “change of scenery” means a change in the places where you spend your day. It can also mean a change in your normal habits.


soften the blow

Nurse Virginia: How can I tell the patient softly that she has cancer?

Dr. Franco: First, you should tell patients that we have good doctors at this hospital, and that we have advanced technology to treat diseases. Tell them that people can live a long time, even if they have a medical condition. And then tell them the difficult news. If they hear reassuring words from the beginning, it will soften the blow.

Explanation: To “soften the blow” or “soften the impact” means to reduce the painful feeling of hearing sad news.


last-minute cancellation

Dear Omar:

I know that you are ready to make the big presentation to the clients, but I’m afraid we’ve had a last-minute cancellation. They called and said that they can’t come today. I’m sorry, but could you make the presentation next week instead?

Explanation: The term “last-minute cancellation” means that someone has cancelled an appointment with very short notice.