Deputies of new House of Representatives (of fourth convocation) begin work
Minsk has hosted the first session of the National Assembly's House of Representatives (fourth convocation) with a plenary sitting opened by the Chair of the Central Election Com≠mission of Belarus, Lidia Yermoshina (as is stipulated by the Constitution). She noted that all possible measures were taken to ensure transparency during the latest electoral campaign. The elections were monitored by 929 international observers and over 21,000 national observers.
An overwhelming majority of vot≠ers believe the parliamentary elections were organised in compliance with national legislation and generally rec≠ognised international standards. Ms. Yermoshina believes the recognition of the power of the deputies (as ad≠vised by the Central Election Commission and according to the Man≠datory Commissions conclusions) is objective. Answering journalists' questions, the Chair of the Central Election Commission noted that the new deputies of the House of Repre≠sentatives should strive for healthy conservatism. "There's no need to deviate from what's already working well," stressed Ms. Yermoshina.
During the session, Vladimir Andreichenko was elected Speaker to the lower chamber Ч proposed by deputy Sergey Semashko. Mr. Semashko praised Vladimir's successful leadership of Vitebsk's Regional Exec≠utive Committee for 14 years and his creation of a group of like-minded col≠leagues. Mr. Semashko asserted that, in recent years, the Vitebsk region has become a highly developed industrial area, whose success is strongly linked to Mr. Andreichenko's efforts.
Mr. Andreichenko's great legal ex≠perience comes from his founding of Belarusian lawmaking; he was a dep≠uty of Belarus' Supreme Council (of the twelfth convocation) and actively worked within the National Assem≠bly's Council of the Republic. His elec≠tion was supported by 107 deputies, with only one 'against'.
The Speaker notes that one of the most vital tasks of the new Parliament is the formation of stable legislation guided by state responsibility, common sense and peoples interests. "Some people wish the new Belarusian Par≠liament to become a centre of instabil≠ity, because of confrontations in the le≠gal environment. We won't allow these illusions to gain substance," stresses Mr. Andreichenko. He believes that Parliament must pass laws to coun≠teract corruption and bureaucracy, to develop economic relations and to at≠tract investment resources. Particular attention should be devoted to the de≠velopment of small businesses, which have a great deal to contribute to the development of the country's produc≠tive potential.
Mr. Andreichenko underlines the necessity of expanding legisla≠tion governing the Union State, while strengthening contacts with major international parliamentary struc≠tures. "We need to liaise more actively with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and other structures. These relations should be honest and free from dou≠ble standards."
(from The Minsk Times, Thursday, November 6, 2008)
Task 1. During your classes in history and philosophy you certainly heard about utopists and their dreams of ideal and perfect existence. One of them was Thomas More who described an imaginary island Utopia representing the perfect society in his book in 1516. The other was Tommazo Kampanella who invented the Town of Sun in 1602.
Get divided into groups of 5 or 6. Think over the project of an ideal society from the point of view of the young generation of the 21st century. Present your project to the group mates.
Task 2. Do research on the following topics:
Ø From the history of the most influential political parties in Great Britain and the USA.
Ø The organization of the election campaigns in Belarus, Great Britain and the USA.
Make a report on the results of your research and present it as if you are taking part in the studentsТ scientific conference.
Task 3. Organize a press conference УTo the issues of observing human rights and freedoms in BelarusФ.
Ј a member of the Committee on Human Rights of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus,
Ј a representative of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus,
Ј a representative of some non-governmental organization who should be ready to answer the questions of the journalist invited to the press conference.
You also need to choose a spokesperson whose job is to give the floor to the participants and journalists and monitor the procedure and order.
DonТt forget that being a journalist you should first of all introduce yourself and name the media you represent.
Read the information about one of the most famous and respected presidents of the USA Abraham Lincoln.
Think over and discuss in the group
Ј what qualities are necessary to become a politician,
Ј if any politician can be come a leader of the nation,
Ј what kind of personality the nation needs in the times of some serious troubles.
Recall from history some other examples of activity of the leader which influences greatly the situation and the life of people in this or that country.
Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1065), the 16th President of the USA, has always been thought of as one of the greatest American presidents. He was one of the founders of the Republican Party, which was the initiator of the anti slavery movement. Lincoln was elected President in 1860 during the times of the Civil war. He is first of all known as the president who freed slaves. During his presidency he got the nicknames Honest Abe, Rail Splitter, Great Emancipator. He is still one of the most respected politicians in American history.
But his way to the Olympus of Power was not laid with roses.
Born into a poor family of pioneers Abraham Lincoln had suffered lots of hardships in his early childhood. All in all he spent no more than a year in school. There was hardly a job he did not try. He split wood for fences, worked as a ferryman on the Ohio River, served in the army, became a postmaster and tried to open a shop. Yet there was one profession that did bring him success; he studied law and in time won a reputation as a lawyer. So he was what you could call a self-educated and a self-made man.
Many people believe that the hardships of his early years helped Lincoln to become the kind of a leader the nation needed during the difficult times of the Civil war.
Review the following basic rules of the use of the modals in the English language.
The most commonly used modal verbs are can, may, must, shouldand have to. Most of the modals do not need any auxiliary to make a question or a negative form (except for have to). We normally do not use a particle to after the modals before the verb (except for have to).
Task 1. Choose the best alternative a), b) or c).
1. The supporters of the necessity of written constitution in Britain believe that it Е be organized in such a way that the public as whole has access to it.
a) can; b) should; c) has to
2. The Commonwealth of Nations Е be listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest political alliance comprising 54 countries located in various parts of the world.
a) can; b) cannot; c) have to
3. It is accepted that a department ministers Еresign if he / she looses confidence of the House of Commons.
a) can; b) has to; c) must
4. Voting to the House of Commons is on the same day in all constituencies, and the voting stations Е be kept open from seven in the morning until nine at night.
a) may; b) cannot; c) should
5. The Parliament Act 1911 fixed the life of a Parliament (the House of Commons) at five years, although it Е be dissolved before the fixed term.
a) should; b) may; c) must
6. The need for cooperation among the early American colonists strengthened the belief that, in New World, people Е be on an equal footing, with nobody having special privileges.
a) should; b) could; c) might
7. Americans do not Е join a political party to vote or to be a candidate for public office.
a) must; b) can; c) have to
8. At the national level, elections in the USA Е be held every two years, in even-numbered years, on the first Tuesday following the first Monday of November.
a) must; b) can; c) have to
9. People Еactively participate in the election process by working as volunteers for a candidate.
a) must; b) should; c) may
10. Before the new government could become a reality, a majority of citizens in nine of 13 states Е approve the Constitution of 1787.
a) must; b) could; c) had to
11. Any citizen of the Republic of Belarus who has reached the age of 21Еbecome a deputy of the House of Representatives.
a) may; b) must; c) should
12. The heads of different central bodies of state administration Еbe members of the Government of the Republic of Belarus.
a) could; b) should; c) may
13. According to the Constitution elections of deputies Еbe direct and voting is secret.
a) can; b) must; c) may
14. A citizen Еreach the age of 30 and be a resident of a region if he / she wants to become a member of the Council of Republic.
a) could; b) might; c) should
15. The powers of Parliament Еbe extended by law only in case of war.
a) have to; b) must; c) may
Study the table and review the general rules of changing direct speech into indirect or reported.
Remember you should change the adverbial modifier of time while making statements reported. The following table will help you.
Task 1. Change the following extracts from different interviews of famous politicians into reported speech. You can use the following words to introduce the reported sentence
Уsaid, affirmed, expressed, approved, agreed, noted, stated, etc,.Ф
1. Mr. Lukashenko said: УI am sure, mutual turnover could exceed $30bnФ.
2. President Medvedev noted, recalling South Ossetia situation: УThere are challenges in our modern world. IТd like to discuss how our cooperation with the CSTO should developФ.
3. The Belarusian President gave his own assessment of the Russian actions; УThis was a calm, composed reaction which has resulted in peace being established in the region. I think it will be long lastingФ.
4. УWe are proud of having close relations with such huge, successful country as ChinaФ, noted President Lukashenko during the meeting with the Chinese delegation.
5. УIТm confident that our countries (Belarus and the South African Republic) can play a key role in strengthening the Non-Aligned Movement Organization, particularly against the background of contemporary challengesФ, assets Mr. Lukashenko.
6. In her message at the end of the presidential bid Hillary Rodham Clinton advised; УNever listen to anyone who says you canТt or shouldnТt go onФ.
7. Hillary Clinton stressed: УChildren today will grow up taking for granted that an African-American or a woman can become the president of the United StatesФ.
(from УThe Minsk TimesФ August 28, 208, September 18, 2008,
УThe Moscow NewsФ June 19, 2008)
Task 2. Organize the following text in the form of the interview.
Parliamentary election campaign enters its most interesting and intense stage. The central Election Commission has registered the first international observers. Lidia Yermoshina, Chair of the Central Election Commission, made some comments in the interview. On the question about the number of the registered initiative groups she mentioned 455 applications which were submitted, but 23 of them were refused and 8 candidates withdrew independently. She was asked why political parties had chosen the procedure of collecting signatures. Lidia Yermoshina explained that such decision could mean that a party was badly structured. The Chair of the Commission was also asked if she had met and what her impressions were about the heads of the CIS observer delegation and the OSCE experts. She explained that they had issued the first 12 certificates to international observers Ц all from the CIS. She underlined that the Commonwealth representatives had great experience of working with election campaigns. The same was true of the OSCE mission. She remarked that everything depends on the positioning from the ideological point of view.
(from УThe Minsk TimesФ August 7, 2008)
SELF Ц ASSESSMENT TEST
I Choose the best alternative from the variants below the text.
The presidency of the United States is the highest governmental office.
President is assisted by Vice-President and the Cabinet. The President and Vice-President are elected for a term of four years and (1) Е be reelected for another term. President (2) Е be a natural-born citizen of the USA, at least 35 years old, and for at least 14 years a resident of the USA. The term of office of the President begins at noon on January 20.
Vice-President presides over the Senate, his other duties are indefinite. The White House (3) Е use Vice-President as a contact man among the senators, or he (4)Е sit at the Cabinet meetings.
President (5) Е appoint chiefs of executive departments. Among the most important departments one (6) Еmention the Department of State responsible for American foreign policy, the Department of Defense or the Pentagon, the Department of Justice, etc.
The PresidentТs Press Secretary (7) Е be called upon to explain what the President meant to say, or intended to say.
Under the US Constitution, the House of Representatives (8) Е bring charges against the President in impeachment proceedings. A two-thirds vote in the Senate is necessary for conviction. It is a method provided for getting rid of officials who (9) Е be dismissed: presidents, vice-presidents and Уall civil officers of the United States. They (10) Е be removed from office for treason, bribery or other high crimesФ.
II Make the following jokes reported
-Pa, what is a politician?
- Son, a politician is a human machine with a wagging tongue.
- Then, what is a statesman?
- It is an ex-politician who has mastered the art of holding his tongue.
- Who, father, is that gentleman?
- That, my son, is the chaplain of the House.
- Does he pray for the members?
- No, my son; when he goes into the House, he looks around and sees the members sitting there and then he prays for the country.
- What makes you think the baby is going to be a great politician?
- IТll tell you. He can say more things that sound well and mean nothing at all than any kid I ever saw.
III Complete the text with the derivative from the words on the right.
IV Read the text and do the tasks that follow.
THE BILL OF RIGHTS
The constitution written on Philadelphia in 1787 could not go into effect until it was ratified by a majority of citizens in at least 9 of the 13 US states. During this ratification process, misgiving arose. Many citizens felt uneasy because the document failed to explicitly guarantee to rights of the individuals. The desired language was added in 10 amendments to the Constitution, collectively known as the Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights guarantees Americans freedom of speech, of religion, and of press. They have the right to assemble in public places, to protest government actions, and to demand change. There is a right to own firearms. Because of the Bill of Rights, neither police officer nor soldiers can stop and search a person without good reason. Nor can they search a personТs home without permission of a court to do so. The Bill of Rights guarantees a speedy trial to anyone accused of a crime. The trial must be jury if requested, and the accused person must be allowed representation by a lawyer and to call witnesses to speak for him or her. Cruel and unusual punishment is forbidden. With the addition of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution was ratified by all 13 states and went into effect in 1789.
Since then 17 other amendments have been added to the Constitution. Perhaps the most important of these are 13th and 14th, which outlaw slavery and guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws, and the 19th, which gives women the right to vote.
The Constitution can be amended in either two ways. Congress can propose amendment, provided that two-thirds of the members of both the House and the Senate vote in favor of it. Or the legislatures of two-thirds of the states can call a convention to propose amendments. (This second method has never been used) in either case a proposed amendment does not go into effect until ratified by three-fourth of the states.
1. Mark the statements as T (true) or F (false).
1. The Constitution of 1787 was ratified by the majority of citizens of the 13 US states.
2. The Bill of Rights guarantees the basic rights and freedoms for all American citizens.
3. All in all there 13 amendments to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights.
4. The Constitution can be amended on the initiative of the President on the USA.
2. Choose the best alternative.
1. During the ratification of the Constitution many citizens got concerned Е
a) Е that no regulations of the rights and freedoms were included in the document.
b) Е that the rights and freedoms were strongly restricted in the document.
c) Е that the regulations on rights and freedoms were guaranteed only for men.
2. The Bill of Rights is a set of amendments which Е
a) Е regulates the relationships between the legislative and executive branches.
b) Е guarantees the basic rights and freedoms for the citizens.
c) Е guarantees the observance of law by the Constitution.
3. One of the most important amendment to the Constitution after the first 10 was that one Е
a) Е which outlaws slavery.
b) Е which gave the right to own firearms.
c) Е which guaranteed that no person could be searched with no good reason.
4. Women got the right to vote thanks to Е
a) Е the 17th amendment to the Constitution.
b) Е the 14th amendment to the Constitution.
c) Е the 19th amendment to the Constitution.
Total score 46