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Learning English - Words in the News
24 February, 2006 - Published 14:10 GMT
Arab firm delays US ports deal
One of the US ports which could be run by UAE company
New York port

Dubai Ports World is at the centre of a political argument in the United States. But the company says it will delay its takeover of another company, which runs operations at six American ports, to allow the US to talk further with concerned lawmakers. This report from James Coomarasamy:

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This decision by the Dubai based company will be welcomed by a White House which had previously insisted that delaying the deal would send all the wrong signals. But the idea of a state owned company from the United Arab Emirates running operations at several major US ports has created a huge political storm which has refused to die down, uniting Democrats and several senior Republicans in opposition to President Bush.

Even the threat of a presidential veto has failed to quell the chorus of opposition and at this point a cooling off period was probably the best that the American leader could have hoped for. That's what Dubai Ports World has provided, by agreeing to put on hold its takeover of the American arm of the British company P & O, while Congress and the Bush administration have further talks.

Opponents of the six point eight billion dollar deal have framed it as a potential threat to national security. But President Bush has insisted that their fears are unfounded and has suggested that some of the criticism is racist in nature.

Listen to the words

wrong signals
incorrect messages

a huge political storm
a very difficult argument amongst many politicians

to die down
to come to an end

a presidential veto
something that has been forbidden or not allowed by the president

quell the chorus
stop people from voicing their objections

a cooling off period
a period of time when concerns or disagreements between two parties can be settled before taking any further serious decisions or action

the American arm
the part of the business that is based in America

framed it
defined it

without basis, unreasonable

racist in nature
influenced by negative feelings about the people involved because of the colour of their skin

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