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Words in the News
Wednesday 24 October 2001
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  Political process has been stalled over arms issue
IRA: the mechanism of decommissioning
Summary: The IRA has said it has put some weapons 'beyond use' in what will be widely seen as an historic breakthrough for the Northern Ireland peace process. The process will probably follow a different pattern from what happens in other parts of the world, because of the Province's unique political situation. This report from Richard Black:
The News Listen  
  Usually, armed groups give up their weapons which are simply destroyed. For small arms, this means bending, cutting or crushing them, while explosions are sometimes used to get rid of larger guns and landmines. Often the destruction takes place in public, as a visible symbol of peace replacing war.

This has been the fate of weapons used in civil conflicts in Cambodia, Mali, El Salvador and many other nations. It has happened in Northern Ireland too - in 1998, when the Loyalist Volunteer Force handed over a batch of guns for public destruction.

But politically, it's very difficult for the IRA to have its weapons destroyed: it would be seen as betrayal by some parts of the Republican community. And so, the body in charge of decommissioning has developed a new formula - that weapons must either be made permanently unusable, or permanently inaccessible.

The favoured option may well be to bury the guns in concrete. If it's done properly, this would certainly make them innaccessible. And if the concrete gets into the barrels and mechanisms of the guns, it would render them unusable too.


The Words Listen
  in public
if you say or do something in public, you say or do it when a group of people are present

  civil conflicts
conflicts between different groups of people who live in the same country

  handed over
if you hand something over to someone, you give the control of and responsibility for it to other people

  a batch of guns
a certain number of firearms

  the body in charge
the specially appointed group of people who have control over and take responsibility for the situation (in Northern Ireland)

  permanently unusable
that cannot be used ever again

  permanently inaccessible
that cannot be reached or seen ever again

  the favoured option
the preferred way of going about it

the barrel of a gun is the tube through which the bullet moves when the gun is fired

  render them unusable
make them unusable

  Read more about this story  

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