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Learning English - Words in the News
21 June, 2006 - Published 14:16 GMT
Bangkok - a city on the move
Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand's capital, Bangkok, is well known for problems like traffic, floods and very poor housing. But in recent years, new highways and public transport systems have made the city seem better organised and increasingly wealthy. This report from Jonathan Head:

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Bangkok is swept up in World Cup fever again, after a week's distraction from the football by celebrations to mark the king's sixtieth year on the throne, and the police are reporting the arrest of more than three hundred people in the city for gambling on the matches - it's illegal in Thailand.

The police say they also want to crack down on children selling garlands of flowers to drivers at traffic lights. The flowers are used to bless Buddha images on the dashboard; the police plan to penalise the children's parents.

And the government’s plan announced today to make the area around Bangkok's new international airport a separate province has angered the city's governor; he's from the main opposition party. The new province would swallow two of Bangkok's districts. The new airport is due to open in September, more than a year late. It aims to compete with aviation hubs like Singapore and Hong Kong. Much of the planning for new infrastructure in Bangkok has been held up by disputes between the city administration and the government.

Listen to the words

swept up in World Cup fever
caught up with and carried away by the excitement of the World Cup games

on the throne
a king or queen in power; a throne is a special chair that's used by them on special occasions

betting money on the results of a game or competition, but people who guess incorrectly lose their money

not allowed by law

to crack down on
to become stricter on, to put a stop to (usually illegal or bad behaviour)

the dashboard
the part of a car in front of the driver where the steering wheel and other controls are


in this case, to absorb and take over the districts so that they can no longer be identified as separate areas

aviation hubs
airports which people can fly to so that they can catch flights going to different places

basic systems such as railways, roads and banks which allow the city to work properly

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