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Learning English - Words in the News
11 July, 2007 - Published 10:46 GMT
The new Seven Wonders
Machu Picchu
The ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru

The results of a worldwide vote to choose the New Seven Wonders of the World have been announced at a ceremony in Lisbon. In contrast to the wonders of the ancient world, the new list emerged from an exercise in which tens of millions of votes were cast by people around the world. This report from Alison Roberts:

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The seven wonders chosen in a global poll in which a hundred-million votes were said to have been cast online, by phone and by text message were announced one by one in random order towards the end of a glitzy ceremony in Lisbon.

First came the Great Wall of China, said to be the only monument visible from space. Its certificate was handed over to Chinese officials by Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. Next up was Petra, the stone-carved ancient city in Jordan, whose royal family led a campaign for it. Rio de Janeiro's Statue of Christ the Redeemer also made the cut after an appeal by Brazil's president for his compatriots to vote. There were two other winners from the Americas - Machu Picchu in Peru and Chichen Itza in Mexico - representatives of ancient civilisations unknown to Antipater of Sidon, the Greek writer who drew up the original list of wonders two-thousand-two-hundred years ago. The last two wonders were Rome's Colosseum, described in its introduction as a symbol of joy and suffering, and the Taj Mahal. That was announced by Bollywood star Bipasha Basu who, along with Oscar-winning actors Ben Kingsley and Hilary Swank presented the ceremony.

The Pyramids at Giza, the only wonder on the original list still standing, had been made an honorary candidate, guaranteed a mention. But Egyptian officials shunned the whole initiative anyway as too commercial. At the ceremony's close, its Swiss organiser, Bernard Weber, announced his next initiative - a global poll on the seven natural wonders of the world.

Alison Roberts, BBC, Lisbon

Listen to the words

survey, vote, election

in random order
unpredictable sequence with no pattern

glamorous and expensive

can be seen

made the cut
survived the voting to reach the final few

fellow countrymen/women

drew up
assigned, thought of

special with no need to go through the official process

ignored and rejected

idea or plan (usually new)

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