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Words in the News
Monday 21 January 2002
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  Hamid Karzai
Afghan Aid Conference
Summary: International donors have been pledging millions of dollars towards the future of Afghanistan at a conference in Tokyo. This report from Jon Leyne:
The News Listen  
  It was an impressive sounding list of pledges from some of the world's richest nations and it's looking as if the United Nations should come close to its target, at least for the first year of the reconstruction effort. The European Union was the biggest donor, offering nearly 500 million dollars for the first year. The United States has pledged around 300 million dollars. Britain has put forward a similar amount though for a five year period. All this after a powerful appeal for help from the new Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai.

"I stand before you today as the citizen of a country that has had nothing but disaster, war, brutality and deprivation against its people for so many years."

Now the real discussion begins over how to get the money to the Afghan people and what to spend it on. Mr Karzai said his first priority was education. Ahead, he suggested, even of providing food. He set the ambitious goal of reopening Afghanistan's schools and Kabul University by the end of March. The United States has stressed the importance of security and of combatting drug production. As the UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan pointed out, the true test will be whether countries make good on their pledges and whether they provide the money that is urgently needed right now. The Afghan government is still short of cash for the most basic necessities. Most civil servants in Kabul have not been paid for the last six months.


The Words Listen
promise of money or aid

  it's looking as if
it seems as if

  reconstruction effort
re-building plan

a person, country or group of countries giving money


  ambitious goal
large and difficult aim

  stressed the importance
emphasised the need for

  make good on their pledges
keep their promises (to give money)

  short of cash
lacking money

  civil servants
government workers

  Read more about this story  

Other Words in the News archives


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