Listening comprehension 2
Negotiators in Brussels have clinched a deal on the 2014 EU budget after a night of hard talks, cutting spending by about 6% compared to 2013. Spending will total 135.5bn euros, or 0.5bn less than the Commission sought and 0.9bn short of the European Parliament's target. It reflects stricter new terms agreed by EU leaders in February. The deal was reached after 16 hours of negotiation, and still requires final approval from the parliament and EU ministers next week.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's pinning of blame on Iran for the lack of a deal on its nuclear program last week, saying splits between Western powers prevented a breakthrough. Kerry’s remarks only served to undermine confidence in the Geneva negotiations. The United States, European Union powers and Iran worked hard for months on a proposal to help end the 10-year standoff over Iran's nuclear activity. Hopes for a deal rose so high that foreign ministers of six world powers traveled to Geneva to put their weight behind the talks. But by Saturday, the unscheduled third day of negotiations, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Paris could not accept a "fool's game", and the negotiations broke off without agreement. Diplomats from other Western nations at first reacted angrily and accused the French of trying to upstage the other powers and causing unnecessary trouble for the talks. On Monday though, Kerry said the major powers were unified on Saturday when they presented a proposal to the Iranians. Everybody agreed it was a fair proposal. There was unity, but Iran couldn't take it at that particular moment.
London, the United Kingdom
UK researchers have been awarded an emergency grant to track a vast iceberg in Antarctica that could enter shipping lanes. Latest images show several kilometers of water between the iceberg, estimated to be about 270 square miles, and the glacier that spawned the block. The £50,000 award will fund a six-month project that will also predict its movement through the Southern Ocean. The icy giant broke away from the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) in July. “It often takes a while for bergs from this area to get out of Pine Island Bay, but once they do that they can either go eastwards along the coast or they can circle out into the main part of the Southern Ocean”, explained principal investigator Grant Bigg from the University of Sheffield. If the iceberg did follow this trajectory, it would bring the Singapore-size ice island into busy international shipping lanes.
Manila, the Philippines
Typhoon Haiyan has killed too many people to count so far and pushed to the brink of survival thousands more who have lost everything, have no food or medical care and are drinking filthy water to stay alive. By Tuesday, officials had counted 1,774 of the bodies, but say that number may just be scratching the surface. They fear Haiyan may have taken as many as 10,000 lives. The storm has injured 2,487 more since it made landfall six times last Friday, the government said. It has displaced at least 800,000 people. Rescue work is continuing.
New York, the United States
A 1969 painting by Francis Bacon set a world record for most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" was purchased for $142,405,000 at Christie's postwar and contemporary art sale on Tuesday night. The work sold after "6 minutes of fierce bidding in the room and on the phone," Christie's said in a statement. The price includes the buyer's premium. Christie's did not say who bought the painting. The price surpassed nearly $120 million paid for Edvard Munch's "The Scream," which set a world record when it was sold at Sotheby's in a 2012 sale. In May 2012, Christie's sold Rothko's "Orange, Red, Yellow" for $86.8 million, a record for any contemporary artwork at auction. Christie's also has an iconic Andy Warhol, "Coca-Cola (3)," estimated to sell for $40 million to $60 million.
Q6: What can we know from the news about the 2014 EU Budget?
Q7: According to Iranian Foreign Minister, why was the agreement not reached over Iran’s nuclear activity last week?
Q8: For what purpose has an emergency grant been awarded to some UK researchers?
Q9: How many lives do Philippine officials fear Typhoon Haiyan may have taken?
Q10: A painting set a world record for most expensive artwork sold at auction on Tuesday. Who painted this work?
本题着重考查考生对国际新闻报道中要点的理解和把握，分别取材自BBC、Reuters、Huffpost以及CNN的新闻报道。第一则新闻考查布鲁塞尔 议员经过反复协商最终就2014年欧盟预算达成一致意见;第二则新闻考查西方几大国就伊朗核问题的分歧以及伊朗的态度;第三则新闻考查英国设立紧急拨款以 追踪南极洲可能会影响大洋航线的巨大冰山;第四则新闻考查超强台风“海燕”在菲律宾造成的巨大破坏;第五则新闻考查著名英国画家弗兰西斯-培根的名画《卢 西安-弗洛伊德肖像画习作》(三联画)以1.42亿美元创下全球艺术品拍卖最高价的历史记录。