[76] Iceland and New Zealand gained top spots


In a travel industry survey, Iceland and New Zealand gained top spots as the World’s most friendly countries toward tourists. The World Economic Forum commissioned the survey. The main issue was which countries had the best “attitude of population toward foreign visitors.”

One prime survey question was “How welcome are foreign visitors in your country?” Graded on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being the best score, Iceland and New Zealand tied for first place with scores of 6.8. Morocco got top scores in North Africa, while Senegal was first for Sub-Sahran Africa with a 6.7 score. Thailand, which had a 6.6 score, was the best in East Asia.
Japan ranked number 74 out of the 140 countries surveyed.


taking flak

Rahman: How are things with your work and your family?

Hidetoshi: My job is fine, but I’m taking flak from my wife because I just bought an expensive car. She says it’s a waste of money and we should save our funds in case I lose my job.

Explanation: The phrase “taking flak” means to get complaints and resistance, often from people on your own team or in your own family. It can also be spelled “flack.” The origin of the word is from guns on the ground that try to shoot down military aircraft.



Zeina: How is your brother dealing with his MS? Does he have good medical care?

Xui Li: Multiple Sclerosis can become a very debilitating disease, but medical care has made great progress in the past few years. My brother has some very capable doctors who are helping him fight the disease.

Explanation: A debilitating disease (or condition) is one that slowly weakens the patient’s strength and wears away at their health.


narrow the gap

Dear Karen:

Our competitor’s robot assembly line can complete one product in only 30 seconds, while our factory’s robots need more than one minute. Our goal should be to produce at least one unit every 40 seconds. We need to narrow the gap.

Explanation: The phrase “narrow the gap” means to move closer to a competitor or a numerical goal. It can be used to describe a working speed, a price target, a sports score, or many other factors.