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Learning English - Words in the News
03 November, 2006 - Published 15:44 GMT
London Mayor's unexpected visit to Cuba
President Chavez was a guest of London's mayor in May
President Chavez was a guest of London's mayor in May

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has made an unannounced visit to Cuba. Mr Livingstone, who is scheduled to visit President Chavez in Venezuela next week, is expected to hold talks with Cuban officials on policies to tackle climate change. This report from Stephen Gibbs:

Listen to the story

Ken Livingstone is keeping his visit to Cuba low key. His itinerary has not been released and British diplomats in Havana admit they have been largely kept in the dark as to his plans.

It is likely that the mayor will attend the capital's Sport for All conference which has brought together international experts to discuss how sport can be a key part of a healthy lifestyle. It's less certain whether the mayor will be granted an audience with President Fidel Castro.

Mr Castro, who is currently recuperating from an unspecified gastric illness, has received only a handful of foreign dignitaries over the last three months. But if they do meet, the two should find they have some ideas in common. Ken Livingstone has recently been stressing that the world should do more to tackle climate change. He said that if only he could he would ban all light bulbs which are not energy saving. Earlier this year Cuba did just that.

Stephen Gibbs, BBC News, Havana

Listen to the words

low key
not very noticeable

made public

kept in the dark
not given any information

be present at

a key part
a very important part

granted an audience
allowed to make a formal visit

getting better (after an illness)

a handful of foreign dignitaries
very few important visitors from abroad

to tackle
to deal with

not allow to use

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